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Education in the Fourth Plan comprises three lecture^ 
delivered by Mr J, P, Naik in April I960 under the auspices 
of the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom, Bombay, 
These lectures, both forthright and illuminating, subject _ 
educational planning in India during the last eighteen yeari 
to a severe but sympathetic analysis, They also make 4 
comprehensive review of problems and prospects of educa- 
tional planning in the Fourth Plan. The book includes Mr 
Nark’s 'A Historical Review of Educational Planning in India', 
a paper presented by him at the Round Table Conference on 
'The Role of Educational Planning in the Economic Develop-', 
ment of the Arab World' at Beirut, Lebanon. February 19-28,; 

The book carries a Foreword by Professor D. R. Gadgil, 
Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of 

Mr Naik is author of several books on education. He has 
been Educational Adviser to Government of India for several , 
years. He was Member-Secretary of the Education Commis- 
sion 964-1966)' which made a comprehensive analysis of 
the educational problems of India, and whose recornmenda- 
Lons are now being studied by both Cenlrai and State Govern- 
ments with a view to their implementation, Mr Naik’s role In 
the preparation of the Report of Ihe Education Commission ■ 
has been a major one. 

Members of Ihe Education Commission in their Foreword 
to the Report say; "We cannot conclude our acknowledge- 
ments without expressing our indebtedness to Shri J. P. Naik, 1 
Member -Secretary of the Commission, His unrivalled know- 
ledge of educational problems and statistics and indefatig- 
able energy have been a source of unfailing strength and 
inspiration ..." 

Rs 7.50 

U6 Mufiaspni GandfiJ 



in the 


* — Lita 


burth Plan 


Education in the Fourth Plan 

Review and Perspective 


J. P. N AIK 





148 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bombay 1 

© J. P. Naik, 1968 



Education in the Fourth Plan comprises three lectures deliver- 
ed by Mr J. P. Naik under the auspices of the Indian Committee 
for Cultural Freedom at the Convocation Hall, University of 
Bombay on April 15-17, 1968. 

It was indeed a privilege for the ICCF to have arranged these 
lectures on education by Mr Naik who, perhaps more than 
anyone else in the country, is pre-eminently qualified to speak 
on the subject Mr Naik’s association with education in its 
varied Jspects, teaching or planning, and his strong commit- 
ment to the values of education are fully reflected in these 
lectures. iMvauld not be an exaggeration to suggest that these 
lectures would form the basis of educational thinking and 
reconstruction in India for the next decade or two. This would 
be not merely because Mr Naik is one of the principal planners 
of education in India today but also because of the intrinsic 
value of the proposals he makes. 

Mr Naik, in his analysis of educational planning in the 
future, does not underestimate the awesome responsibilities or 
the immense difficulties which would be faced by educational 
planners. But these difficulties are not unsurmountable, 
largely because education is engaging the continuous attention 
of a person like Mr J, P. Naik. One need not totally despair of 
the future of education in India, precisely because Mr Naik 
himself is associated with its planning and implementation. 

It would be appropriate, to mention here that the ICCF is 
particularly happy that the maiden publication of Nachiketa 
Publications comprises the Naik lectures arranged by the ICCF. 

April 17, 1968 

V. K, SlNHA 
Executive Secretary 
Indian Committee for Cultural freedom 


I have great pleasure in writing this Foreword to the lectures 
on Educational Planning in India delivered by my old friend, 
Shri J. P. Naik. Shri Naik has very special qualifications to 
talk about Educational Planning in India. He has direct 
experience of conducting institutions at the primal y, the 
secondary, the training and the research level. He has also 
wide administrative experience, particularly, in the field of 
Education. Lastly, he has in recent years been actively asso- 
ciated with the Ministry of Education at the Centre and has 
been Member-Secretary of the Education Commission. He 
is, thus, in a position to draw upon a large fund of practical 
experience of educational activity and administration. This 
gives realism to his thinking and proposals. It is notable at 
the same time that the idealism and faith which have inspired 
Shri Naik through his entire career have not been significantly 
lessened by the passage of years. 

I was particularly pleased to observe Shri Naik’s remarks 
about expenditure orientation of our Planning in the past. 
Also, though it may appear paradoxical, his contention that 
for many years educational planning proceeded as if restric- 
tion of resources was no impediment is also very significant. 
These observations hold good not only in relation to educa- 
tional planning but also to planning in many other spheres. 
I believe that, in the main, this was the result of planning 
being highly centralised. The emphasis Shri Naik places on 
planning at the State, the district and the institutional level 
is, therefore, highly welcome. It is only when we begin to 
think irt considerable detail of problems in particular time- 
space contexts and the solution to them that we would be 
able to plan meaningfully and purposefully and to use our 
resources economically. Also, emphasis could then shift in a 
real sense from expenditure on expansion which gets easily 
reflected in statistics to efforts at all-sided development. This 
is not to decry expansion. Considerable expansion of educa- 
tional facilities is still needed in our country. For example, 



I think that Sliri Naik adopts too negative an attitude 
towards enrolment in colleges. Educational opportunities for 
collegiate education have yet to reach a number of areas and 
strata. However, there is considerable scope and need to 
rationalise the process of this expansion and to insist on main- 
tenance of minimum standards. 

Shri Naik points to many aspects of educational develop- 
ment which can be pursued without considerable monetary 
expenditure. All these aspects have one thing in common. 
They are not dependent on significant inputs of materials 
and men per unit of output; however, they require intensive 
inputs of quality effort on the part of individual teachers and 
scholars. I have a feeling that this latter aspect of the problem 
has not been brought out adequately by Shri Naik either 
in this connection or in connection of what, for want of a 
better term, Shri Naik calls the ‘Swadeshi Movement'. Our 
pathetic belief in the superiority of the outsider is a reflection 
of a serious qualitative weakness internally. We shall not be 
able to improve standards or to grapple meaningfully with 
our problems until this weakness disappears. And it will dis- 
appear only when we cease to regard and to conduct our- 
selves as if we were second-class members of the English- 
speaking intellectual community. 

D. R. Gadgil 

New Delhi 
April 11, 1968 



Foreword by D. R. Gadgil 5 

1. Educational Planning in India: Analysis 9 

2. Proposals for the Fourth Plan 41 

3. Appendix: A Historical Review of 

Educational Planning in India 75 



We have now had an experience of eighteen years of 
educational planning-three Five Year Plans and three 
annual plan years. A comprehensive review of this experience 
in depth is thus obviously overdue; and the need for it is 
heightened by the recent changes in the political scene with 
their far-reaching implications for Centre-State relationships 
and by the decision of the Government of India to prepare 
a new Fourth Five Year Plan beginning in April 1969. In 
fact, one now wishes for a sustained nation-wide debate on 
the subject so that we might profit by our past experience and 
bring about a substantial improvement in the techniques of 
educational planning and implementation to be adopted in 
the fourth and subsequent plans. The object of this paper is 
to stimulate such a debate. 


As an introduction to the proposals which I wish to put for- 
ward, may I compare, at this important cross-roads in our 
educational history, the unenviable position of the educational 
planner of tomorrow with the enviable opportunities which 
his counterpart of yesterday could enjoy? The educational 
planner of the first three plans could work against a back- 
ground of political stability. The same political party being 
in power at the Centre and in the States gave him an ultra- 
constitutional tool to deal with education almost as if it were a 
concurrent or even a Central subject. He could obtain funds 
with comparatively greater ease because the committed ex- 
penditure on education had not increased to its present 
dimensions and because the scops for additional taxation was 
not so restricted as at present. His task in educational develop- 
ment was also comparatively easy because the system was 
in the initial stages of its take-off and because its internal 
stresses and strains had not reached their present intensity. 






What is even more important, he could bank on the general 
air of optimism that then obtained in the country and on 
the enthusiastic co-operation of the teachers, students and 
parents. Compared to him, the educational planner of to- 
morrow has tremendous odds to face and immense handicaps 
to overcome. He will have to plan and work, for some time 
at least^against a background of political instability and 
strictly in accordance with the constitutional position that 
education is largely a State subject. The resources available 
to him, even at current prices, will be largely limited on 
account of several reasons such as the inability of Government 
to raise or even collect taxes, to control unproductive expendi- 
ture or to withstand the temptation to give politically con- 
venient but financially disastrous tax reliefs. His task is also 
far more formidable because of the severe strains to which 
the educational system is now subject, the immense increase 
in studer>fa*unrest and the general feeling of apathy and 
frustration that seems to be getting hold of the teaching pro- 
fession. His only advantage over the planner of yesterday is 
that he has greater experience of planning techniques. But 
in this, he resembles the well-intentioned young son of a rich 
joint family who begins life with plenty of goodwill and 
abundant finances but without experience. As often happens, 
he gains his experience a few years later when the capital has 
evaporated, the joint family broken up and the goodwill almost 
destroyed. He is certainly wiser, but sadder too. 

What is the educational planner to do under such circum- 
stances? An easy way out is to give up planning altogether, 
either in a spirit of defeatism at the impossibility and enor- 
mity of the tasks posed or in the naive belief that ‘somehow 
good shall be the far-off end of ilT and that, like the proverbial 
Englishman, we will also muddle through to success. This 
mood seems to be gaining currency at present as is evident 
from the cynical references that are often made to the proposed 
new Fourth Five Year Plan or to the planning process itself. 
When I go round the States and try to discuss educational 
planning with the worldly-wise Education Secretaries, I am 
often greeted with a polite but cynical smile and asked in- 
convenient questions. For instance, I am first reminded that 
educational planning has necessarily to be long-term, spread 

over fifteen to twenty years at least, and then asked: how can 
Governments which count their life in as many months or 
even days ever take interest in such long-term plans? Some 
others raise the question of resources and ask: what is there 
to plan with? One of them even quoted a verse from Jonathan 
Swift. In his extreme old age, when he was blind, Swift used 
to be often taken out for a ride in a coach. During one of 
these rides, he heard some loud noises and asked what they 
were. On being told that a magazine was being constructed, 
he wrote the following poem: 

" Behold of a proof of Irish sense, 

Here Irish wit is seen. 

When nothing is left that is worth defence, 

We build a magazine. 

I am glad that in spite of all difficulties, and provocations 
to the contrary, the Education Secretaries have still been able 
to retain a sense of humour. There can be no better proof 
that all is not lost as yet and that there is still some hope to 
live for. 

I must confess that I cannot be a party to this mood of 
despair. It is a pity that we did not make full use of the 
opportunities that we had in the last eighteen years. But let 
me emphasize that planning is not an exercise meant exclu- 
sively for times of plenty. On the other hand, it is needed 
most in times of scarcity. It would not have mattered very 
much if we had not adopted planning in education in 1950. 
But to give it up now would be suicidal. If planning was ever 
needed in India, it is needed at this stage and this need will 
grow as resources become less or difficulties increase. There 
is also no need to lose heart. Challenges of the type we are 
now facing have often been met and can be met through 
improved techniques of planning, greater human effort and 
an intensified spirit of idealism and dedication. I am, there- 
fore, not cowed down by the argument that there is so little 
to plan with. On the other hand, I am impressed by the 
argument that there is so much to plan for : the welfare, the 
progress, the security, and even the very survival of this great 
country depends on what we do in education in the next five 
to ten years. The difficulties we face only imply that we are 





on our trial. There can therefore be no question of a defeatist 
abandonment of planning. Instead, we should accept the 
challenges of the situation and rise to the occasion by better 
planning and more determined and effective implementation. 


As a continuation of these introductory observations, may 
I also discuss some of the major achievements and failures 
of our educational planning during the last eighteen years? 

Expansion of Educational Facilities : The first and foremost 
of our achievements in educational planning during the last 
eighteen years is the tremendous expansion of educational 
facilities at all stages and in all sectors. For instance, enrol- 
ments in classes I-IV have increased from 13.7 million or 37.8 
per cent of the age-group 6-9 in 1950 to 37 million or 69.2 
per cent of the age-group in 1965, the latest year for which 
the statistics are available. Similarly, in classes V-VII, enrol- 
ments have increased even faster— from 3.2 million or 13 per 
cent of the age-group 10-12 in 1950 to 12.6 million or 35.6 
per cent of the age-group in 1965. This implies that the 
average annual rate of increase of enrolments in classes I-IV 
has been 6.0 per cent and that in classes V-VII, 9.5 per cent. 
Taken by its^f, this is undoubtedly a laudable achievement. 

But I wonder whether we shall be justified in giving all 
the credit for this advance to educational planning. To under- 
stand this problem in its proper perspective, one must ask 
oneself the question: what would have happened if there had 
been no planning at all? 1 1 is of course possible to argue that, 
under such an eventuality, the present level of expansion 
would not have been achieved. But I do not share this view; 
and I have a strong suspicion that, even if the techniques of 
planned development had not been adopted, much of this 
expansion would have still taken place in response to the 
strong social demand for primary education. There is also 
another argument to be considered. Planning can only be 
defined as the achievement of pre-determined goals according 
to a specified programme. On this basis, our attempts to ex- 
pand primary education can only be said to have ended in 
a failure. For instance, universal education was to have been 

provided, by 1960, to all children till they reach the age of 
14 years. We are still far from realising this goal. Even the 
revised target of providing universal education in the age- 
group 6-11 by 1965-66 has not been achieved and may not be 
achieved till 1975-76. This can be a sobering thought to those 
educational planners who try to show every natural develop- 
ment as a consequence of planned efforts. 

At the secondary and university stages, the expansion of 
facilities has been even more rapid. Enrolments in classes VIII- 
XII increased from 1.8 million or 6.1 per cent of the age-group 
13-17 in. 1950 to 7.5 million or 14.5 per cent of the age-group 
in 1965, which implies an average annual growth of 9.8 per 
cent. At the university stage, enrolments in all faculties in- 
creased from 0.3 million or 1.1 per cent of the age-group 18-22 
in 1950 to 1.2 million or 2.7 per cent of the corresponding 
age-group in 1965, which implies an average annual growth 
of 9.6 per cent. Spectacular as these achievements are, it would 
not be quite correct to say that they were all planned for. 
Our planners have generally talked of controlling expansion 
at these stages, of diverting students into different walks of 
life, of vocationalising secondary education and of selective 
admissions to the university classes. If they had succeeded, 
these enrolments would have been much smaller than what 
they actually are. This unprecedented expansion is therefore 
mainly due to strong social pressures and has been achieved 
in spite of the planners’ wishes to the contrary. It is thus more 
an evidence of the failure of plans, rather than of their 

Expansion has been the least in one sector— mass literacy— 
which has increased from 16 per cent in 1951 to only about 
30 per cent at present. In spite of this, there has been an in- 
crease in the number of illiterates in the country during the 
last twenty years because the rate of growth of population is 
much faster than that of the increase in literacy. This slow 
progress of literacy is mainly due to the very low priority 
accorded to it by our planners. This is obviously a major 
weakness as it ignores the important principle that an effective 
and intensive programme for the liquidation of adult illiteracy 
is the first essential step in the regeneration of a static and 
traditional society. 





In spite of such shortcomings, I still maintain that the 
expansion of educational facilities at the primary, secondary 
and university stages which we have been able to secure in 
the last eighteen years is a grand achievement. It was obviously 
very necessary. In 1951, the level of educational facilities 
reached was extremely limited and priority had to be given 
to programmes of expansion because the attainment of 
Independence had created a great hunger for education, 
especially among those classes which had been denied it in 
the past. It was also inevitable because it is next to impossible, 
in a democratic society based on adult franchise, to 
resist strong popular pressures for education. We must further 
recognise that this expansion has played a dynamic part in 
the transformation of Indian society by creating new oppor- 
tunities for several suppressed groups which have since thrown 
up new leaderships and bands of workers. Taken as a whole, 
therefore, this expansion has been beneficial and helped in 
creating a more evenly balanced economy and society. 

In some other sectors, planning has made a much better 
contribution to the expansion of education. For instance, the 
expansion of facilities in technical and vocational education 
through the establishment of Indian Institutes of Technology, 
engineering colleges, polytechnics and industrial training 
institutes has been essentially due to planned effort and has 
made a significant contribution to our industrial development 
and defence potential. The same can be said about the ex- 
pansion of facilities in medical education which has made a 
great contribution to the improvement of our health services, 
of the expansion of agricultural education which has assisted 
farm production, or of teacher education which has led to an 
increase in the proportion of trained teachers. The expansion 
of science education and of science departments in univer- 
sities is yet another example of fairly successful planning and 
so is the development of scientific and industrial research. To 
a very large extent, expansion of the education of girls and 
of the backward classes is also due to planned effort. It is not 
that there have been no weaknesses in these sectors. In fact, 
the programmes of technical education have recently run into 
some heavy weather. But all in all, these may be said to be the 
fairly successful instances of planned development. 

Qualitative Improvement of Education: In comparison 
with these programmes of expansion, our achievements in 
the qualitative improvement of education have been rather 
less spectacular, but they also show the same blend of success 
and failure. I do not share the pessimistic view that, in the 
last twenty years, educational standards have steadily declined. 
In my opinion, the qualitative improvement of education 
shows a mixed picture of light and shade— brighter in some 
areas and darker in others. It is true that there has been an 
increase in the number of sub-standard institutions and of 
students with sub-standard attainments. But considerable 
improvements have been made in the teaching of several sub- 
jects, especially in science and the professions. What is even 
more important, good institutions and first-rate students are 
now more numerous and qualitatively as good as ever, if not 

What has been the role of planning in these efforts at the 
qualitative improvement of education? I am afraid the edu- 
cational planner has, on the whole, been far less successful 
in planning programmes of qualitative improvement than 
those of expansion. In all the three Five Year Plans, pro- 
grammes of qualitative improvement received a low order of 
priority and a small allocation of funds. If the determination 
of proper priorities is the essence of educational planning, 
this comparative neglect of quality should be regarded as a 
major weakness. What is even worse, the fundamental diffe- 
rence between the planning of expansion and that of qualita- 
tive improvement was largely ignored by our educational 
planners. Planning for expansion is a comparatively simple 
matter and mostly reduces itself to the provision of funds for 
establishment of new educational institution^, the appoint- 
ment of additional teachers, construction of buildings or pro- 
vision of equipment. In other words, if additional funds are 
available, nothing is easier than to plan for expansion. But 
the planning for quality is totally different and makes far 
more demands on human effort and ingenuity than on fiscal 
or material resources. In the last analysis, the quality of 
education depends on teachers, on their sense of dedication 
to the pursuit of truth and excellence and on their identific- 
ation with the interests of the students committed to their 


education in the fourth plan 



charge. To get teachers of high quality and to motivate them 
properly needs money no doubt; but it cannot be done by 
money alone. Quality of education also depends on such pro- 
grammes as improvement of curricula and text-books, adop- 
tion of modern methods of teaching and evaluation, improve- 
ment of supervision, and creation of a climate of dedication 
and hard work. These programmes need human effort rather 
than monetary investment; and in planning and implement- 
ing them, money can only play a minor role. Unfortunately, 
our planners in the past developed an ‘expenditure-oriented’ 
system of educational planning in which greater emphasis is 
laid on the expenditure of money than on human effort. Con- 
sequently, the success they obtained with programmes of 
qualitative improvement was inevitably less conspicuous than 
with programmes of expansion. 


What do I mean by the expression ‘expenditure-orientation’ 
of our educational plans? It really implies an over-emphasis 
on money based on the naive belief ‘that there is no defect 
in education that more money cannot set right’. It is true that 
all educational plans will have financial implications and will 
need some investment of money for their implementation. 
But there is a world of difference between an educational 
plan which has financial implications and a basically financial 
plan which proposes to incur a given expenditure of money 
on certain educational programmes. In fact, this difference 
is as wide and as fundamental as that between ‘eating to live’ 
and ‘living to eat’. We have not realised this basic difference 
and have given an unusual expenditure-orientation to all our 
plans. The cost of the plan, rather than its content, has be- 
come more important to us and a more integral part of our 
thinking on the subject. We consider that the second plan 
was ‘better’ than the first because it was ‘bigger’ in financial 
terms. The third is considered better than the second for 
precisely the same reason. I heave a sigh of relief because the 
old fourth plan is now dead and gone. But it was considered 
to be the best of all because it provided for an expenditure 
which was larger than all the three plans put together. The 

assumptions implicit in this mode of thinking are obviously 
not valid; but we continue to accept them and to build on 
their foundations. Consequently, we were fairly successful 
in implementing simple expansion programmes which depend 
essentially on monetary investment, such as the establishment 
of new institutions, appointment of additional teachers, 
revision of teachers' salaries, construction of buildings or pur- 
chase of equipment. But when expansion programmes had 
other dimensions that could not be met by expenditure of 
money alone, our successes have been limited. For instance, 
we have not succeeded well in adult literacy programmes in 
which the basic problem is to motivate the adults to learn 
and this cannot be done by money alone. At the primary 
stage, we have failed even more miserably in reducing wastage 
and stagnation because these programmes need human effort 
rather than money. Similarly, we have not succeeded in 
restricting enrolments at the secondary and university stages 
because this needs a changing of public attitudes rather than 
expenditure of public funds. We have also not been able to 
give a good account of ourselves in programmes of qualitative 
improvement where, by and large, money plays a minor role. 
Other examples of this weakness can be readily given, but are 
hardly needed. I am, however, tempted to quote one of our 
able Vice-Chancellors with whom I was discussing this pro- 
blem. He said that insofar as his university was concerned, 
the one recommendation of the Commission which needed 
the largest financial investment— the revision of teachers’ 
salaries— had been fully implemented. But other recommenda- 
tions which involved human effort rather than expenditure 
such as examination reform, revision of courses, teacher-student 
contact, etc. were at a preliminary stage of consideration and 
that he hoped ‘something would be done someday’. 

What I have said is enough to clarify the point I am making: 
we have been able to achieve, by and large, what could have 
been achieved by expenditure of money. But where such 
expenditure of public funds had to be supplemented by ex- 
penditure of thought or by human effort, we have not been 
able to rise to the occasion and the results have been rather 
indifferent. Unfortunately, it is much easier to spend money 
rather than thought, especially if it is somebody else’s money. 





But unless one spends thought, no really worthwhile results 
can ever be obtained. Rich countries sometimes try to make 
up for the shortages of intellectual inputs by investing larger 
amounts of money. But a poor country like ours cannot afford 
this luxury. It will either have to make up for the shortages 
of physical and monetary investments by larger inputs of 
human effort or be content to be swept aside by the strong 
currents of history. 

I consider this weakness— the expenditure-orientation of 
our plans— to be fundamental. If it is remedied, we shall get 
a much better return, not only for the additional funds we 
invest in education, but also for the high level of investment 
which has already been reached. But if it is not remedied, 
any further monetary investment in education will largely 
add to the existing wastage. But when I say this, I should not 
be misunderstood to suggest that education received plenty 
of funds in the last eighteen years. My definite view is that 
education has been comparatively starved for funds in all 
these years and that it has been accorded a low priority. But 
I do mean that the resources we did get were not properly 
utilised and that they could have been used to much better 
purposes. I should also not be understood as suggesting that 
education can be expanded or improved without money. If 
we have to create a national system of education, adequate 
in quantity and quality, to meet the needs and aspirations of 
the people, our investment in education will have to be in- 
creased several-fold. But the point I am driving at is this; 
while emphasising the need for additional funds, we should 
also emphasise two other points: 

(1) Education cannot be improved by money alone; and 
the adage that there is nothing wrong in education that more 
money cannot set right is not only fallacious, but actually 

(2) Money plays only a minor role in the most crucial 
sectors of educational improvement and factors like human 
effort and ingenuity assume far greater significance. 

No country can afford to ignore these non-monetary essen- 
tials of educational progress, and least of all a poor develop- 
ing country like ours. The first major weakness of our system 
of educational planning has been that we have neglected them 

too long in the past. It will simply be disastrous to continue 
to do so, especially because the availability of the resources 
themselves has become so limited. 


The second major weakness of our planning system is top- 
heaviness. Our planning process resembles an inverted 
pyramid because so much of it is being done at the top and 
so little at the bottom. As you all know, educational planning 
is mostly done at present at the Centre— in the Planning Com- 
mission and in the Ministry of Education. It is also done, to 
some extent, in the State Education Departments and there 
is a small cell in each Directorate to look after the prepara- 
tion and implementation of educational plans. Because of 
the developmental grants given by the University Grants 
Commission, there is some attempt at planning— although often 
ad hoc and perfunctory— in the universities also. But there is 
hardly any planning at any other level. There are no district 
plans and, what is worse, no plans for individual educational 
institutions. In other words, our planning started at the top- 
in Delhi— and started to descend downwards at so slow a pace 
that, in the last eighteen years, it has come down to one more 
level only and has reached the State capitals or university 
headquarters. It has still a long way to go to reach the district 
level and even longer to reach individual institutions. 

This top-based approach to educational planning has three 
main disadvantages. The first is that it is peripheral and does 
not involve the crucial areas in educational development. The 
educational process takes place in the classroom and hence 
the core of any educational plan should be the plans prepared 
by each educational institution. It is only these plans that can 
adequately deal with such basic educational issues as indi- 
vidual attention to students, improvement of curricula, adop- 
tion of modern methods of teaching and evaluation, intensive 
utilization of available facililties, or establishing close contacts 
with the local community through programmes of mutual 
service and support. I refuse to believe that one educational 





institution can be just like any other. In my view, each educa- 
tional institution should have a unique personality of its own 
—like each individual student. It should therefore be en- 
couraged and assisted to plan its own individual development 
and on the best lines possible. It is only these institutional plans 
that can provide scope for initiative, creativity, freedom and 
experimentation on the part of institutions and teachers. I 
know that several good institutions do have such plans even 
now— in fact, the existence of such plans is one of the major 
factors that helps them to cultivate excellence. But the formu- 
lation of such plans has not become a general movement that 
covers all educational institutions and such institutional plans 
do not yet form the basis of plans at higher levels. We do not 
even have district plans in which the local community can be 
effectively associated with schools. In the absence of such 
institutional and district plans, planning at the State and 
national levels can only remain peripheral. 

The second disadvantage of planning from the top is that 
it tends to be expenditure-oriented. As I have shown earlier, 
the plans become basically educational and programme- 
oriented at the institutional level. At the district level, they 
still continue to remain largely so but develop some expendi- 
ture-orientation. At the State and national levels, they become 
mostly expenditure-oriented because the Central and State 
Governments have the responsibility to finance education and 
the most common questions raised and discussed at these 
levels are generally two: (1) How much can the Government 
provide for education, and (2) how will the allocation be 
spent? If this expenditure-orientation which our plans have 
received in the last eighteen years is to be corrected, it is 
essential to initiate a process of planning from below— from 
the individual institutions and districts— and then supplement 
these plans with those at the State and national levels. 

The third disadvantage in this process of planning from 
above is that it does not involve the willing and enthusiastic 
participation of important groups— inspecting officers, teach- 
ers, parents and students. My criteria of a good educational 
plan is that it must be known to all inspecting officers and 
teachers (and wherever necessary, to parents and students 
also), that it must be able to secure their full co-operation 

and that it must assign specific responsibilities and duties to 
each teacher and inspecting officer. This does not happen at 
present. 1 have, for instance, tried to find out how many 
teachers and inspecting officers know about the educational 
plans. These are of course known to the Planning Commis- 
sion, the Ministry of Education and the Directorate of Educa- 
tion in the States. I have found that the District Officers 
generally know little about them and the subordinate inspect- 
ing officers as well as secondary and primary teachers hardly 
know anything. How can a plan which so few know about 
and in which the average teacher and inspecting officer has so 
little to do can ever be implemented? If, on the other hand, 
plans for individual institutions are prepared, each teacher 
and inspecting officer will have some specific tasks to do and 
so will most parents and students. The plan could then be a 
truly national plan and will stand a good chance of being 
implemented satisfactorily. 

Institutional Plans: A major reform I propose therefore is 
that the present planning process which resembles an inverted 
pyramid should be broad-based and decentralised by intro- 
ducing the system of institutional plans. In every university, 
there should be an academic planning board set up on the 
lines recommended by the Education Commission. Every 
educational institution should be required to prepare and 
implement fairly long-term plans of its own. These plans, let 
me emphasise, should not be like ‘charters of demands* which 
emphasise the physical and other needs of the institution and 
the funds required to meet them. On the other hand, they 
should be like practical and pragmatic programmes of action 
which emphasise the best utilisation of the available facilities 
and emphasise human effort. They should also not be 
grandiose or dreamlike. In fact, in the preparation and 
implementation of such plans, our motto should be: ‘not low 
aim but failure is a crime*. In my view, we wrongly interpret 
the principle that not failure, but low aim is a crime. It makes 
us prepare high-sounding plans which look grand on paper 
and which enable us to escape from the hard realities of life 
into a utopian dream-world of our own creation. What is 
worse, this principle also enables us to accept a failure as some- 
thing that is an inevitable and not necessarily dishonourable 





aspect of such plans and provides us with a psychological 
defence mechanism against ineffective implementation. But 
as you all know, this policy arouses the hopes of the people 
to unnecessarily high levels in the first instance and then 
throws them to the ground with a vengeance. It is this gap 
between promise and fulfulment that is largely responsible 
for the present mood of frustration in the public mind. I 
would therefore like this process to be reversed and insist 
that, in future, we should prefer a humble and prosaic plan 
that is faithfully implemented to a grandiose one which is not 
or even cannot be implemented in full. This new discipline 
of thought has to be adopted in planning at all levels. But 
there is absolutely no escape from it at the institutional level. 

Several steps will have to be taken if this basic idea of 
institutional plans is to be successfully developed. Some of the 
more important of these are the following: 

(1) The State Education Departments should be oriented 
to a new mode of thinking. Their present insistence on rigidity 
and uniformity should be abandoned in favour of an elastic 
and dynamic approach. They should also encourage initiative, 
creativity, freedom and experimentation on the part of insti- 
tutions and teachers. It should be their responsibility to 
identify good schools and to give them greater support and 
large freedom to enable them to become better while, at the 
same time, providing the necessary guidance and direction to 
the weaker institutions with a view to enabling them to be 

(2) It will be necessary to orientate officers of the Depart- 
ment as well as heads of educational institutions in the prepa- 
ration and implementation of such institutional plans. 

(3) The grant-in-aid rules should be modified from two 
points of view: 

(a) The first is to provide adequate freedom to schools 
to make decisions on their own. This can be secured by 
instituting an ‘Education Fund' in each institution con- 
sisting of donations and contributions raised from the local 
community and, in the case of educational institutions 
other than primary schools, a ‘Bqtterment Fund' levied 
from the students in a manner prescribed by the Government. 

To stimulate the development of such funds, the State 
should provide a grant-in-aid on the principle of equalisa- 
tion. The entire proceeds of the fund should be available 
to the institution for its own development, either by pro- 
viding new services or by expanding existing ones. 

( b ) The second principle of reforming the grant-in-aid 
system would be to encourage excellence. The grant-in-aid 
to educational institutions should be divided into two 
parts. The first is the ordinary maintenance grant given 
on some egalitarian principles which will ensure the pay- 
ment of teachers' salaries and a certain minimum expendi- 
ture for other items. But there should also be a special 
‘Development Grant' given to institutions on the basis of 
their performance. This will promote a competition for 
excellence among the different educational institutions and 
lay the foundation of a movement which, in the course of 
time, would succeed in raising standards all round. 

(4) The different educational institutions should help each 
other in developing this new concept of institutional plans. 
From this point of vifew, the programme of ‘school complexes' 
recommended by the Education Commission deserves con- 
sideration. Under this programme, each secondary school will 
work in close collaboration with the primary schools in its 
neighbourhood and help them, through guidance services and 
sharing of facilities, to improve themselves. The same process 
can be repeated at a higher level between colleges and univer- 
sities on the one hand and the secondary schools in their 
neighbourhood on the other. At present, the teachers at 
different stages of education are engaged in a dialogue of 
mutual recrimination and passing the buck. For instance, the 
universities blame the secondary schools for sending up weak 
students and the secondary schools pass on the blame to 
primary schools. The programme of school complexes recom- 
mended by the Education Commission will put an end to all 
this and bring the different stages of education together in 
a programme of mutual service and support. 

(5) A deliberate policy to encourage the pursuit of 
l excellence will have to be adopted. At the school stage, good 

schools should be allowed to develop into ‘experimental 
schools’ and freed from the shackles of external examinations. 



A similar step should be taken at the university stage by the 
development of ‘autonomous colleges' or a more liberal 
exercise of the authority vested in the Government of India 
to declare institutions as ‘deemed universities'. Encouragement 
and assistance should be given to outstanding departments 
of universities to grow into Centres of Advanced Study and 
in some universities at least, clusters of Centres of Advanced 
Study should be built up in related disciplines that strengthen 
and support one another. 

District Plans: To strengthen the planning process, these 
institutional plans will have to be supplemented by the pre- 
paration of plans of educational development at the school 
stage in each district. The State is a fairly convenient unit for 
the planning of higher education, although some planning 
of higher education will also have to be done at the national 
level. But it is too big and inconvenient a unit to plan at the 
school stage. It would, therefore, be desirable to accept the 
recommendation of the Education Commission that District 
Education Boards should be created in every district to look 
after all education below the university level. Even if this 
recommendation is not accepted ^or accepted only in a 
modified form, there is still no escape from treating the district 
as the principal unit for administration, planning and deve- 
lopment of school education. 

(a) This reform has become inevitable on grounds of sheer 
expansion. In 1882, educational expenditure in the country 
as a whole was about Rs. 1.8 crore. Today, the expenditure 
on education in an average district is more than Rs. 2 crores 
and the educational facilities provided therein are almost as 
large as they were in some States in 1882. 

( b ) The reform has also become necessary for effective 
administration and better public relations. It is only from 
the district level that adequate extension services can be pro- 
vided to schools and it is again at this level that an effective 
link-up can be established with the local community. 

(r) Yet another reason can be given in support of the 
programme. Studies made by the Education Commission show 
that there are very wide variations in educational development 
between one district and another. In fact, these are far wider 
than those at the State level. It therefore becomes very 


necessary to treat the district as a unit of development with 
a view to reducing the regional imbalances. 

In my view, we should move toward a situation where the 
District Education Officer becomes virtually the Director of 
Education for the area and can take effective and final deci- 
sions in all administrative and financial matters and provide 
the necessary guidance and extension services to schools within 
his jurisdiction. The Directorate of Education— there may be 
Divisional Offices between the districts and the Directorate in 
large States— should largely confine itself to matters of policy, 
general co-ordination and maintenance of State level organi- 
sations for qualitative improvement. 

State Plans: The planning at the State level will also have 
to be radically reoriented. Since education is a Constitu- 
tional responsibility of the States, effective educational planning 
can only be done at the State level. At present, elaborate 
educational plans are prepared at the national level and there 
is no corresponding activity at the State level. Let it be 
clearly understood, however, that our national educational 
plans do not have any real meaning in practice because the 
conditions vary largely from State to State, because each State 
is at a different level of development and because the priorities 
to be adopted in the immediate future vary immensely from 
one State to another although the ultimate objectives towards 
which they are all moving might be very similar. It is, there- 
fore, necessary to take the State as the fundamental unit in 
educational planning. Each State should prepare the perspec- 
tive plan of long-term development spread over 15 to 20 
years; and against this background, it should draw up the new 
Fourth Five Year Plan which will begin in 1969-70. Each State 
should also provide a statutory basis for education by passing 
an Education Act, What I would propose is that in the course 
of the next four or five months, each State should prepare a 
white paper on educational development within its area, 
publish it for eliciting public opinion, and place it before 
the legislature for discussion and approval. In the light of 
this finalised white paper, an education bill should be in- 
troduced and passed into law before the end of the year. 

It may be asked whether this is the right time to take such 
far-reaching measures. My answer is that these steps have to 





be taken right now without any delay. Let us remember that 
England published a white paper on educational reconstruc- 
tion in 1943 and passed an Education Act to give effect to 
its proposals in 1944. These were dark days for Britain, when 
the Second World War was at a fever pitch and no one was 
sure how and when it would come to an end. The present 
conditions in India are certainly not so dark; and our need 
for such educational planning is even greater. 

Planning at the National Level: If plans on these lines are 
jjrepared at the institutional, district and State levels, edu- 
cational planning at the national level will have to be corres- 
pondingly altered. In my opinion, we do too much of detailed 
planning at the national level at present. This should cease 
and in future, the main tasks to be attempted in planning 
at the national level should be the following: 

(a) Announcing a National Policy on Education which 
would give a broad directive to State Governments, local 
authorities and educational institutions in preparing and 
implementing their plans; 

(b) Provision of guidance to State Governments in the 
preparation, implementation and evaluation of plans; 

(c) Coordination of State Plans; 

(i d ) Implementation of a few schemes of national signi- 
ficance selected in consultation with the States, in the 
Central and the Centrally sponsored sectors and particularly 
in the field of post-graduate education and research; 

(e) Defining minimum targets of national achievements 
in various sectors from time to time and assisting the less 
advanced States to reach them; and 
(/) Provision of financial assistance. 

This is the picture I have of a broad-based decentralised 
process of educational planning which we should strive to 
create in the country over the next five years to replace 
the existing system of top-based and centralised educational 
planning with its emphasis on the national and State level 


The third major weakness of our educational planning has 
been an over-dependence on foreign expertise for ideas and 

programmes and, to some extent, even for financial support. 
This is not a new thing in our educational history. Prior to 
1947, we showed an over-dependence on England and for 
precedents from British experience. In the post-Independence 
period, our dependence on England has been reduced to 
some extent, no doubt. But the attitude of dependence still 
continues to dominate our thinking and has transferred itself 
to the US, especially because US advice and expertise are often 
accompanied by liberal financial assistance. The results of 
intellectual dependence on others, whatever the country of 
dependence or the reasons therefor, can only be disastrous 
and they have been so. 

One obvious point here is that it is not generally desirable 
to link 'ideas’ with 'money’ in programmes of aid because 
such linkage tends to distort priorities in educational plan- 
ning and often leads to indifferent implementation. If only 
ideas are given, there is a chance that they may be examined 
seriously and, if found convincing, resources will be found to 
implement them. Similarly, if only funds are given, there is a 
chance that the problems concerned may be examined 
earnestly and that the funds may be applied to programmes 
which have a genuine priority from the donee’s point of view. 
But the linking of funds with ideas makes a donee often 
accept a weak scheme which someone else thinks good for 
him and which he would not have accepted if it had not 
been sugarcoatecl with financial assistance. It also places the 
donor in a somewhat questionable position wherein he can 
sell his ideas, not on the basis of their intrinsic merit, but 
with the help of the money that he promises on their behalf. 
It is therefore hardly a matter for surprise if some of these 
finance-bolstered schemes are implemented indifferently in 
practice and if they are even discontinued when the aid comes 
to an end. This is a fairly common experience, not only in 
the field of international aid, but also in the sphere of 
Central aid to States under the Centrally sponsored pro- 

But it is not merely this link between 'money’ and ‘ideas’ 
that is wrong. What is far more harmful is our over-dependence 
on foreign experts and aid which necessarily implies a corres- 





ponding lack of confidence in ourselves. It is this attitude 
that creates problems and I am convinced that unless we 
have a ‘Swadeshi' movement in education in its proper sense, 
the large-scale reorganisation of education that the country 
needs will not be feasible. I therefore propose to elaborate 
this point in some detail. 

When I condemn an over-dependence on foreign exper- 
tise, I should not be misunderstood as being chauvinistic. I 
do not hold the view that India has nothing to learn from 
other nations. On the other hand, 1 am conscious of the many 
advantages we can have by a close study of the experiences 
of other countries. But in doing so, I will not be a party to 
cheap, facile imitation of the practices in other countries 
which do not solve any problems. I have also no patience 
with those policies which assume that India shall for ever 
remain at the receiving end of the pipe-line of the world's 
knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand, I believe that 
the proper role of India in the international academic com- 
munity is that of an equal among other equals— creating, 
giving and receiving. I am therefore pained to see an over- 
dependence on ‘imported experts'— the Unesco definition of 
an expert is a person who flies over your country during the 
day-time— who know little of our situation, who frequently 
are not in a position to offer any worthwhile advice, and whose 
principal achievement is that they manage to build up a 
nodding acquaintance with our problems by the time their 
assignments come to an end. In fact the right policy to be 
adopted in this respect is that advocated by Mahatma Gandhi 
who wrote, ‘I do not want my house to be walled in on all 
sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of 
all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. 
But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I also refuse to 
live in other people's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a 
slave.' While therefore one is welcome to make the widest 
possible use of the experience of other people in educational 
development, there is just no escape from the hard and 
original thinking that we must do for ourselves in order to 
evolve appropriate solutions to our educational problems 
which, in a number of ways, are unique. But unfortunately. 

we have frequently tried to avoid this ‘responsibility to think' 
by leaning too heavily upon foreign consultancy. 

An important aspect of the Swadeshi movement in educa- 
tion, therefore, is to base our programmes of educational 
development on indigenous, creative and original thinking. 
Several arguments can be advanced to support this need. 
Educational practices and programmes do not lend them- 
selves easily to transplantation from one social milieu to another 
because such a transplant is more like the transfer of parts 
from one human body to another than like the transfer of 
spare parts from one motor car to another. Moreover, there 
is a strong temptation to imitate marginal practices or pro- 
grammes which achieve no worthwhile results rather than the 
basic and essential things. For instance, an Indian wanting 
to be like an Englishman will not strive to imbibe his many 
qualities of head and heart but would rather start— and pro- 
bably also end— by imitating his dress and table manners. We 
must not also forget that our problems are so unique in their 
complexity, magnitude and difficulty that it would be idle 
to look elsewhere for precise solutions that can be imported 
with ease. What we really need, therefore, is not an exact or 
modified imitation of a practice or programme developed 
elsewhere, but the evolution of new and unorthodox pro- 
grammes which are based on a deep study of our own condi- 
tions and needs and which are a unique blend of many care- 
fully selected experiences from different situations. In the 
devising of such solutions, a foreign expert invited to advise 
is obviously at a disadvantage because, however well he may 
be acquainted with his own social milieu and its programmes, 
he lacks that intimate understanding and knowledge of Indian 
conditions which is so essential to success in this regard. 

Let me, by way of illustration, enumerate some of the major 
programmes of educational reconstruction which we have 
tried in the post-Independence period and which have 
obviously been influenced by foreign advice and supported by 
foreign assistance. These have dominated the field of secon- 
dary education, had no impact on primary education, and 
only a limited influence on higher education. They include: 
(a) the establishment of Janata Colleges on the model of the 



Folk High Schools of Denmark; ( b ) the introduction of 
‘general science’ and ‘social studies’ in the curricula of secon- 
dary schools; (c) the scheme of multipurpose secondary 
schools; ( d ) examination reform with particular reference 
to the development and of new type tests; ( e ) the develop- 
ment of audio-visual aids; (/) the development of educational 
and vocational guidance programmes; (g) the establishment 
of extension centres in training institutions; (h) the starting 
of integrated courses of general education and teacher train- 
ing at the first degree stage as in the Regional Colleges of 
Education; (i) the introduction of general education courses 
at the university stage; and ( j ) the establishment of agricul- 
tural universities. The success that has attended these pro- 
grammes has varied. Some have largely failed, e.g., the Janata 
Colleges. On some others, there has been considerable rethink- 
ing, e.g., the introduction of general science and social studies 
in the curricula of secondary schools or the programme of 
multipurpose schools. Some are extremely unsuited to the 
Indian situation and ought not to have been imported at all, 
e.g., the integrated courses of general education and teacher 
training. Some others have obviously a much lower priority 
in our situation, e.g., development of audio-visu»«aids and 
educational and vocational guidance. A careful evaluation of 
these programmes brings out the point that even when taken 
in their entirety, they remain mostly peripheral and do not 
touch the heart of the problem of educational reconstruction 
which we have to face. What is even more important, it can 
be shown that in almost every case, their success is in propor- 
tion to the depth of thinking brought to bear on their adapta- 
tion to Indian conditions. 

I would like to supplement these observations with three 
others. The first is that this over-dependence on foreign 
expertise and precedents often gives a wrong lead to our 
educational development. For instance, Sir Eric Ashby has 
pointed out that some of the major weaknesses of our system 
of higher education arise from the fact that it was based on 
decisions, made rather unimaginatively between 1835 and 
1854, to extend the British and European system of education 
to India. ‘To exclude from university studies for half a 



century the whole of oriental learning and religion and to 
purvey to Hindus and Muslims a history of philosophy whose 
roots lie exclusively in the Mediterranian and in Christianity; 
to communicate the examinable skeleton of European civilisa- 
tion without ensuring that the values and standards which 
give flesh to these bones are communicated too; to set up the 
external paraphernalia of a university without the warmth 
and fellowship of academic society: these are the handicaps 
against which Indian universities are still struggling and which 
prevent the university from becoming the centre and focus 
of India’s intellectual life.’ Similarly, our system of secondary 
education has grown the way it did largely because its con- 
tent was modelled on grammar schools of England of the early 
nineteenth century; and so on. An imitation of others is 
generally a weak instrument of self-development, even when 
it is carefully planned and efficiently carried out. But when 
it is not— and the odds generally are against its being so— the 
results can be disastrous. 

My second observation is that this over-dependence on 
external precedents often leads to a neglect of basic issues in 
our educational reconstruction. For instance, a very impor- 
tant reason for our failure to provide free and universal pri- 
mary education for all children is our unwillingness to accept 
a larger pupil-teacher ratio or a bigger class size that would 
be in keeping with our level of economic development and 
birth-ratfe. In the industrially advanced countries, the class 
sizes are now small, mainly because they have larger resources 
to invest and a comparatively small number of children to 
be educated. We do not make adequate allowance for this 
difference in the socio-economic background and hold up a 
small class as an educational objective of great significance, 
adopt teaching methods which are suited only to small 
classes and do everything in our power to make the teacher 
hostile to the bigger classes and incapable of dealing with 
them. In actual practice, however, we compel them to work 
in big-size classes— one cannot just wish away the hard eco- 
nomic realities— and the results are disastrous. The one way 
out of the situation is deliberately to adopt a larger pupil- 
teacher ratio and to develop teaching methods appropriate to 
such classes. But this problem has hardly received any 





attention among our educationists. The same can be said o£ 
scientific research as well. What we generally attempt is 
fashionable or prestige research which means the research 
that is now being attempted in the industrially advanced 
countries and which is, therefore, relevant to their socio- 
economic conditions rather than to ours. We do not under- 
take utilitarian research which will invariably be related to 
our socio-economic conditions because it has no counterpart 
in the advanced countries of the world to which we look for 
inspiration and guidance. Several other examples of this type 
can be easily given. 

My third observation relates to our pathetic dependence on 
outsiders in an important programme, the preparation of text- 
books in higher education. What we need is text-books written 
with the help of Indian materials and Indian experience so 
that the education which a student receives becomes meaning- 
fully related to the environment in which he lives. Instead of 
striving our best to produce such text-books, however, we still 
depend largely on foreign text-books with results that are far 
from happy. The prices of these books have gone up, espe- 
cially after devaluation, and their import is becoming more, 
and more difficult owing to the paucity of foreign exchange. 
The teachers and the students, therefore, cannot afford to 
have books to any appreciable extent. Moreover, the contents 
of the books that we import in the social sciences are generally 
unrelated to Indian conditions. Many teachers and students 
have told me, for instance, that the books they use in subjects 
like politics or economics or sociology will have to be almost 
totally re-written to make them useful in Indian universities. 
Some teachers of veterinary science have told me that the 
animal anatomy and physiology we teach in these institutions 
is still centred round the horse— the farm animal of the West— 
whereas what we need is a programme of instruction centred 
round the cow or the bull. Several doctors have also told me 
that they would like to have text-books on medicine written 
by Indian authors and with special reference to Indian con- 
ditions. Such examples ijiay be easily multiplied. We shall 
have to produce text-books in English— and we shall need 
them for years to come— written by Indian authors and deli- 
berately oriented to Indian conditions. This effort will be- 

come greater and inescapable when the regional languages are 
adopted as media of education at the university stage. But 
this is just the effort that we do not undertake at present. 

One could have understood this over-dependence on exter- 
nal experience and precedents in the days before 1937 when 
educational policies were largely determined by British officers 
working in India. What pains one, however, is the fact that, 
in spite of the lapse of thirty years and the attainment of 
Independence, this over-reliance on outsiders still continues 
to dominate the scene. The principal reason for this, as 
Professor Edward Shils has pointed out, is that ‘the centre 
of gravity' of the Indian academic community is outside India. 
Our educationists tend to look outside India for judgment of 
their work, for the intellectual models of the problems which 
they study, for the books they read and for their forum of 
appreciation and approval. Unless this is changed and unless 
Indian educationists develop self-confidence and undertake 
the responsibility of doing hard, original and creative think-' 
ing, there is no hope of finding an early and satisfactory 
solution to our problems. 

What I have said here about intellectual dependence on 
others applies matatis mutandis to financial dependence or 
programmes of foreign aid as well. I hold that the present 
level of foreign assistance to India, or to most developing 
countries, is far too inadequate and that its quantum has to 
be increased very substantially. But I also feel that the utili- 
sation of even the small foreign aid that is now available 
leaves a good deal to be desired and changes are needed in 
the attitudes and policies of donor as well as the receiving 

(a) I would not like the donor countries to tie up their 
aid to specific objectives. They should, by and large, leave 
the receiving country free to decide its own priorities. I would 
also like to see a big aid programme developed to cover 
services of outstanding teachers. With regard to equipment, 
I would seek assistance for machinery and know-how to 
produce as much equipment as possible within the receiving 
country itself. I would also like to recommend a very large 
programme, of aid in the form of supply of books or assistance 
for their production. Many a developing country is not in a 





position to produce a large part of the books it requires on 
account of the international copyright conventions which are 
tending to become one of the biggest obstacles to the free flow 
of knowledge across international frontiers. Several developing 
countries are therefore being driven to a point where they 
might be compelled to opt out of these conventions. A more 
honourable way out of this situation for all concerned is for 
the advanced nations to give full authority to the developing 
countries to reproduce any books or part of books written by 
their citizens, to pay the royalties involved direct to the 
authors concerned, and to treat the amount as aid given to 
the developing country. 

(b) The receiving countries also will have to change their 
attitudes to foreign aid. The first and foremost precaution 
they should take is to ensure that foreign aid does not distort 
their priorities in planning. In other words, they should not 
accept aid for any programme which they would not be 
prepared to undertake with their own resources and on a 
priority basis. What is even more important, they should look 
upon foreign aid in financial terms as a necessary and 
transitory measure and should try to become self-reliant by 
doing away with all foreign aid whatsoever in as short a time 
as possible. In other words, they should scrupulously observe 
the dictum that the objective of foreign aid is to help the 
receiving country to be self-sufficient and that aid should be 
received in the present only to eliminate all need for aid in 
the future. Secondly, the developing countries must also be 
on guard against the corrupting influence of foreign aid. As 
fire flares up when fed with fuel or desire increases with every 
attempt to satisfy it, dependence on foreign aid tends to 
deepen with the passage of time. Foreign aid thus has a 
tendency to perpetuate itself and to make the receiving 
country less self-reliant. From this point of view, I am not 
sure whether the adoption of Professor Dandekar's thesis that 
self-sufficiency is a strategy and not an objective of develop- 
ment would not ultimately be in the larger interests of the 

A Swadeshi movement in education therefore does not 
mean chauvinism or intellectual isolation or breaking away 
from the stream of international life. But more than anything 

else, it means (a) a shift in the ‘centre of gravity' of our 
academic life inside the country; ( b ) hard, original and 
creative thinking to devise appropriate solutions to our pro- 
blems; (r) an intensive effort to produce most of the text- 
books we need; and ( d ) to receive aid, if necessary at all, as 
a transitory step that will ultimately eliminate all need for 
external assistance. Such a movement must form the very 
basis of the fourth and subsequent plans. 


The fourth major weakness of our educational planning is 
that it has, by and large, neglected the urgent problem of 
transforming our educational system to suit the life, needs 
and aspirations of the people so that it becomes an important 
instrument of national development. This is so major an issue 
that it needs examination in detail. 

Education has been used to serve three inter-dependent 

1. it may be regarded as an academic discipline and used 
to preserve knowledge and culture as well as to increase 
knowledge and to enrich culture by training men and 
women to develop a competence for and a commitment 
to the pursuit of truth and excellence; 

2. it may be utilised to draw out the best in every child and 
to help each individual to develop his potential capa- 
cities to their fullest and to attain self-knowledge and 
self-fulfilment; and 

3. it may also be used as a powerful instrumenrof national 
development which would enable the people of a country 
to meet their challenges and to realise their aspirations. 

The first two of these purposes have been emphasised from 
times immemorial. But the third has come into prominence 
only in the present century. The socialist countries in parti- 
cular have shown how a planned, deliberate and effective use 
can be made of education for purposes of national develop- 
ment. This recent thought is obviously of immense significance 
to all developing countries; and most of them are now 
striving to create national systems of education which would 





help them effectively to meet their needs and to realise their 

Prior to 1947, the idea of a national system o£ education 
for India remained largely non-official. The British Govern- 
ment did not look upon India as a nation, and their educa- 
tional objectives were limited by their emphasis on imperial 
interests and on non-interference with the social, religious and 
cultural life of the people. 

The nationalist leaders, however, started demanding a 
national system of education in the early years of this century 
and the Calcutta Congress of 1906 resolved that the time had 
arrived “for the people all over the country earnestly to take 
up the question of national education, for both boys and 
girls, and organise a system of education-literary, scientific 
and technical— suited to the requirements of the country, on 
national lines and under the national control and directed 
towards the realization of national destiny.” In the following 
years, the concept of national education was clarified and 
further developed by several writers such as Dr Annie Besant, 
Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lala Lajpat Rai, Rabindranath 
Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi. A national system of educa- 
tion, it was argued, should 

(a) promote national consciousness and inculcate a deep 
love of the motherland, a proper pride in its past 
glories and a strong confidence in its future; 

(b) be controlled by Indians, shaped by Indians and carried 
on by Indians; 

(c) uphold Indian ideals of devotion, wisdom and morality 
and be permeated by the Indian religious spirit which 
is spacious, tolerant and all-embracing and which 
recognises that man goes to God along many roads and 
that all prophets came from Him; 

(d) emphasise science, scientific research and vocational 
education to help economic growth with a view to 
eliminating poverty and providing a decent standard 
of living for all; and 

(e) be imparted through the languages of the people, the 
over-emphasis on English being reduced side by side 
with a more intensive cultivation of other international 

Two intensive efforts were made to spread national education 
on a large scale— the first following the partition of Bengal 
in 1904 and the second, as a part of the non-co-operation 
movement in 1931. For various reasons, both these efforts 
failed and until 1947, the programme of national education 
was confined to a few educational institutions like the Gujarat 
Vidyapeeth which chose to remain outside the official system 
of education. 

With the attainment of independence in 1947, it was felt 
that the entire official system of education should be trans- 
formed on the broad principle of national education which 
had been enunciated earlier. Even as early as in 1948, Pandit 
Jawaharlal Nehru had observed, in his address to the Educa- 
tional Conference convened by the Ministry of Education in 
1948: ‘Whenever conferences were called in the past to form 
a plan for education in India, the tendency as a rule was 
to maintain the existing system with slight modifications. 
This must not happen now. Great changes have taken place 
in the country and the educational system must keep pace 
with them. The entire basis of education must be revolu- 
tionised/ Unfortunately this suggestion was not taken 
seriously and all that happened was a mere expansion of the 
system that had come down from the British days, with a few 
marginal adjustments here and there. The Education Com- 
mission therefore, found even in 1966, that our system of 
education which had been originally designed to meet the 
needs of an imperial administration within the limitations set 
by a feudal and traditional society had remained largely un- 
changed in character and that it would need radical changes 
in objectives, content, teaching methods, programmes, com- 
position of the student body, selection and preparation of 
teachers and in organisation, if it was to be made to serve 
the purposes of a modernising, democratic and socialistic 
society. The Commission also pointed out that this programme 
of the transformation of the educational system to meet the 
needs of national development is of paramount urgency. 
‘Traditional societies', it said, ‘which desire to modernise 
themselves have to transform their educational system before 
trying to expand it, because the greater the expansion of the 




traditional system of education, the more difficult and costly 
it becomes to change its character/ This, in fact, may be 
described as one of the unique contributions made by the 
Education Commission. So far, we had talked of educational 
reconstruction consisting mainly of two categories of pro- 
grammes— expansion and qualitative improvement. The Edu- 
cation Commission has added a third and very important 
dimension to this discussion, namely, the transformation of 
the educational system for purposes of national development. 
It is, therefore, in the fitness of things that its Report has 
been given the subsidiary title: education and national 


What are the basic programmes which will transform the 
existing system of education and make it more intimately 
related to national development? According to the Education 
Commission, these are the following: 

(1) Education should deepen national consciousness and 
promote national integration; curricular and co-curricular 
programmes should be designed to promote a proper under- 
standing and appreciation of our cultural heritage, a greater 
knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the differ- 
ent regions of the country, and faith and confidence in 
the future; 

(2) The common school system of education should be 
adopted at the primary stage to put an end to the segrega- 
tion that now takes place between the schools for the ‘haves' 
and the schools for the ‘have-nots'; 

(3) There should be a great emphasis on science edu- 
cation; science should become an integral part of general 
education till the end of class X and its quality should be 
improved at all stages; scientific research should be pro- 
moted and related more intimately to the development of 
agriculture and industry; 

(4) Work-experience and national or social service 
should become an integral part of education at all stages; 

(5) Secondary education should be vocationalised and 
made largely terminal; 

(6) Professional education should be expanded and 
improved at the university stage; 


(7) An appropriate language policy should be developed 
which should include, among other things, programmes for 
the development of modern Indian languages and their use 
as media at all stages of education, a more intensive 
cultivation of international languages other than English, 
and promotion of inter-regional contacts through a more 
intensive study of all the modern Indian languages in each 
linguistic region; 

(8) The school and the community should be brought 
together in programmes of mutual service and support; 

(9) The educational level of the common citizen should 
be substantially raised by liquidation of adult illiteracy and 
provision of good and effective primary education to all 
children; and secondary and higher education should be 
so developed as to create an intelligentsia, adequate in size 
and competence, and drawn from all social strata; and 

(10) Emphasis should be placed on character formation, 
on the cultivation of moral and spiritual values and on the 
development of a sense of social responsibility. 

It is true that these programmes have not been totally 
neglected and that something is being done with regard to 
most of these. What is needed, however, is an intensive effort 
to develop them in a big way and in an integrated manner. 
In other words, these programmes should be at the core of 
the fourth and subsequent plans. 

The implementation of these programmes which bridge 
education and life goes much beyond the formal system of 
education and requires active co-operation and collaboration 
between education, several other Departments of Government 
and persons engaged in different sectors of national life such 
as agriculture and industry. For instance, meaningful pro- 
grammes of work-experience and social service can be developed 
only with the co-operation of the Department of Agriculture 
and Industry and of agriculturalists and industrial under- 
takings. Programmes of vocational, technical and professional 
education will also have to be developed through an intensive 
co-operation between educational institutions on the one hand 
and agriculture and industry on the other, in respect of the 
preparation of curricula and courses, prescription of standards, 



exchange of teachers and provision of training facilities. The 
implementation of the new language policy also needs corres- 
ponding changes in administration and in the public service 
examinations; and so on. It is this aspect of these programmes 
which makes their implementation more complicated and 
difficult. But in view of their significance, we have to address 
ourselves to the solution of these problems and see that they 
are implemented effectively on a priority basis. 




I shall now turn to a discussion of another important problem, 
namely, the content of fourth and subsequent plans. I 
shall, in other words, deal briefly with an important question 
which is now being asked: what are the major programmes 
of educational reconstruction which should be emphasised in 
the fourth and subsequent plans, and how will they be diffe- 
rent, and why, from those emphasised and included in the 
first three plans? 

In my opinion, there are three major changes of policy 
needed in determining the content of the fourth and subse- 
quent plans. Two of these have already been discussed. The 
first is that our emphasis will have to shift, by and large, from 
programmes of expansion to those of qualitative improvement 
and the second is to accord a high priority to the programme 
for the transformation of the educational system which has 
been the most neglected so far. The third is to adopt a 
‘selective* approach. A major weakness of our educational 
planning has been to adopt the ‘comprehensive’ approach— 
the trend to do something in every sector, however small. This 
is really an attitude of escapism from the difficult problem of 
deciding priorities. It also finds considerable support in the 
‘democratic’ context. Almost every programme in education 
is essentially good and desirable and every such programme 
has some god-father or god-mother to support it. Consequently, 
the distraught Education Ministers are forced to adopt the 
comprehensive approach in an attempt to please all. What 
happens in consequence however is that the meagre resources 
available get thinly spread over an undesirably large area so 
that nothing worthwhile is achieved in any sector. An attempt 
which begins by trying to please all thus ends in disappoint- 
ment to everyone. This is probably a major reason why our 






educational programmes are criticised in almost every sector. 
It is, therefore, obvious that, in' the days ahead, it would be 
better to give up this comprehensive approach and adopt the 
selected sector approach instead. In other words, we should 
try to accord priority to a few important sectors and concen- 
trate on their development in a big way. 

On the basis of these three important changes, I shall now 
briefly indicate the major programmes to be included in the 
fourth and subsequent plans. 

Core Programmes: The first proposal I would like to make 
in this context is that the crucial j^rogrammes of qualitative 
improvement which need human effort rather than financial 
investment should form the Tore’ programmes in the Fourth 
Plan. Among these, I would propose to include the following: 

(1) Revision of Curricula and Courses : A major objective 
of this programme should be to orientate education to national 
needs. This would include programmes such as promoting 
national consciousness, emphasising character formation 
through cultivation of moral, social and spiritual values, im- 
proving science education, introducing work-experience and 
national or social service, stressing physical education, games 
and sports and developing a rich and varied plan of co- 
curricular activities. 

At the school stage, there is an urgent need to upgrade and 
improve curricula, to increase their knowledge content and 
to provide adequately for the development of skills and the 
inculcation of right interests, attitudes, and values. It is also 
necessary to introduce courses at two levels— ordinary and 
advanced. At the university stage, the combination of subjects 
permissible for the first degree should be more elastic than 
at present and should not be linked rigidly with the subjects 
studied at school. There should be provision for general (pass 
and honours) and special courses. At the post-graduate stage, 
courses should be designed with three objectives: preparing 
teachers for schools; catering for the needs of students who 
are still interested in broad connected areas; and providing 
a high degree of specialisation. 

(2) Adoptio?i of Improved Methods of Teaching and 
Evaluation : This programme should be promoted through 

research, improved supervision, in-service education of 
teachers, production of literature and establishment of sub- 
ject-teachers’ associations. A programme of high priority 
would be to improve the teaching of languages. It is also 
necessary, as recommended by the Education Commission, to 
establish a Bureau of Evaluation in each State to implement 
an intensive programme of examination reform in close 
collaboration with the National Council of Educational Re- 
search and Training. This programme should include, amongst 
others, the reform of external examinations, reduction in 
their numbers, early declaration of results, introduction of a 
system of internal assessment in all institutions and making 
it an integral part of the promotion procedures from class to 
class, and the maintenance of appropriate progress cards for 
all students. 

(3) Book Development Programmes : These will include 
the following: 

(a) The production of text-books in English and modern 
Indian languages which contain Indian experience and 
material, are written by Indian authors and are specially 
oriented to Indian conditions and the needs of the Indian 

(, b ) Rationalisation and expansion of the book produc- 
tion schemes which are now being implemented in colla- 
boration with friendly countries like the USA, the UK and 
the USSR; 

(c) Further development of the programmes of text- 
book production for the school stage under the National 
Council of Educational Research and Training; 

(d) Development of text-book production programmes 
for the school stage under the State Governments through 
the establishment of autonomous organisations and the 
development of research in curriculum and text-book pro- 
duction; and 

(e) Preparation and publication of children’s books ot 
all categories, especially with a view to promoting national 
integration. These books should be produced simultaneously 
in all the modern Indian languages and should be priced 
exactly the same in every language. It is through them that 





a good deal of common reading material will be available 
to every Indian child. This will promote national inte- 
gration and help to raise and equalise standards in all parts 
of the country. 

(4) Supply of Text-books : It is not enough to produce 
better text-books and supplementary reading materials. It is 
also necessary to ensure that these books become available to 
all students: this can be a major {programme of qualitative 
improvement. At the lower primary stage (classes I-IV), 
arrangements should be made to supply free text-books and 
writing materials to poor and needy children. In the alter- 
native, , text-books and supplementary reading materials may 
be kept in schools and made available to the children during 
the school hour. In the higher primary and secondary schools, 
colleges and university departments, adequate text-book 
libraries should be built up to ensure that every student has 
reasonable access to all the text-books. 

(5) Reorganisation of the Administrative Machinery : 
Programmes of reorganising the administrative machinery, 
both at the Centre and in the States, are crucial because the 
efficacy of planning and implementation will depend very 
largely on the efficiency of the Ministry of Education and the 
State Education Departments. The detailed programmes re- 
garding this will be discussed in a later section. 

All these programmes need better planning and human 
effort rather than any large-scale investment of resources in 
physical or financial terms. It will, therefore, be possible to 
provide adequately for them in the plans of all the State 
Governments, even within the comparatively limited resources 
that are likely to be available for the Fourth Plan. This is 
what we should strive to do. 

Mass Education ir Adult Literacy : The next order of 
priority will be programmes of mass education: the liquida- 
tion of adult illiteracy and the development of primary 
education. We should recognise that the most significant cut-off 
point in a nation’s cultural and social life is where it emerges 
from illiteracy into literacy and that, in the long-run, there can 
be no better guarantee of continued social and economic 
change in the direction of democratic socialism than universal 

literacy. Unfortunately, programmes of liquidating adult 
illiteracy were ignored in the last twenty years, presumably 
under the assumption that an early provision of universal 
and free primary education for all children till they reach 14 
years of age, which was to have been provided by 1960, has 
not yet been realised and we may not be able to reach it for 
another twenty years. In the meantime, the ranks of the 
illiterate people in our midst are growing and today there are 
more illiterate people in the country than there were in 1947. 
It is thus obvious that in the next few years, we must address 
ourselves earnestly to the task of liquidating adult illiteracy. 
No effort or sacrifice can be too great for this purpose. 

The following programmes should be developed for this 

(a) Part-time literacy classes should be organised for 
children in the age-group 11-17 who have never been to school 
or have left it prematurely. Such grown-up children are found 
to become functionally literate in about a year. These classes 
should first be organised on a voluntary basis and should be 
made compulsory later on in the light of experience gained. 
They will effectively prevent fresh additions to the ranks of 
adult illiterates. 

(b) The campaigns for liquidating adult illiteracy should 
be organised, both in urban and in rural areas. The Gram 
Shikshan Mohim (Village Education Drive) of Maharashtra 
provides a good example. These campaigns should also be 
developed as a part of the programme of national or social 
service at all stages of education, and especially at the univer- 
sity stage. 

(r) An integrated programme of adult literacy and spread- 
ing improved agricultural techniques should be developed and 
tried out in rural areas, especially in those selected for inten- 
sive agricultural development. 

Mass Education : Primary Education : Our approach to the 
problems of primary education also will have to be changed 
with a view to obtaining more meaningful results than in the 
past. The first obvious step in the programme would be to 
make primary education free in all parts of the country. The 





Constitution directs that primary education should be made 
free and compulsory. Even if the 'compulsory’ part of the 
programme will take a fairly long time for implementation, 
it should be possible and worthwhile to implement the 'free’ 
part of this directive immediately. At present, primary educa- 
tion has already been made free in all States except four: 
Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. These State 
Governments should give top priority to this programme in 
their Fourth Five Year Plan. 

I do not think it necessary to emphasise the 'compulsory' 
aspect of the programme of primary education. Every State 
in the country has now a law on the Statute Book which makes 
it compulsory for every parent to send his children to school 
and provides penalties for failure to do so. Although these 
laws have a utility of their own, they cannot be expected to play 
any major role in universalising primary education. Experience 
of compulsory education in the advanced countries of the 
world shows that compulsory education laws cannot be im- 
plemented when the people are poor and illiterate and that 
they are hardly needed when the people become literate and 
economically better off. The experience in India will also be 
similar. It would, therefore, be better not to over-emphasise 
the compulsory aspect of primary education and to concentrate 
on its universalisation instead. 

The programmes of universalisation of primary education 
are of three types. 

(a) The objective of the first is universalisation of facilities 
or the provision of a primary school within easy walking 
distance from the home of every child. This goal has been 
very largely reached in all parts of ttie country and the work 
that yet remains to be done is comparatively small and not 
likely to cost much. It would, therefore, be desirable to pre- 
pare plans, on the basis of the Second Education Survey, for 
provision of universal facilities for primary education and to 
implement them in full during the next five years. 

(b) The objective of the second type of programme is 
universalisation of enrolment, i.e., to enrol every child in a 
primary school at the age prescribed for admission, generally 
six plus . At present, we have succeeded in enrolling most of 
the boys so that the vast bulk of the non-attending children 

are girls, tribal children, and children of the poorest social 
strata such as agricultural labourers. During the next five 
years attempts should be concentrated on the enrolment of 
these non-attending children and suitable programmes for 
the purpose will have to be included in the Fourth Plan. In 
particular, special efforts will have to be made to provide 
facilities for part-time education for those children who have 
to work in or for their families and who cannot therefore 
attend schools on a whole-time basis. 

(c) The third type of the programme refers to universali- 
sation of retention i.e., to retain every child in school and to 
ensure that he passes regularly from class to class until he 
completes the primary course or reaches the upper age limit 
prescribed for compulsory schooling. It is in this regard that 
our system of primary education is the weakest. Of every 100 
children that enter the primary school in Class 1, about one- 
third drop off at the end of Class I and only about a one- 
third reach Class VII. The extent of stagnation also is very 
large. For the next ten years, therefore, our efforts will have 
to be concentrated on the reduction of these evils. We have 
been talking about them for nearly forty years, but very little 
has been done in practice to counteract them effectively. I 
think that programmes for this purpose should have a high 
priority in the Fourth Plan. 

Teachers' Status and Education : The third priority in my 
proposals would be programmes for the improvement of 
teacher status and education. The scales of pay recommended 
by the Education Commission for the university and college 
teachers have already been approved by the Government of 
India and assistance is being made available to State Govern- 
ments, on 80:20 basis, for implementing them. It is un- 
fortunate that for one reason or another no effect has been 
given to these proposals in several parts of the country as yet. 
The scales of pay recommended by the Education Commission 
for school teachers have only been adopted in one or two 
States and a much greater effort is needed to give effect to 
them. This is especially so in States like Uttar Pradesh and 
Bihar where the existing remuneration of school teachers is 
on the low side. Since a Finance Commission has now been 





appointed and will submit its report by the end of the current 
year, it is very necessary that 'all the States and Union Territ- 
ories take immediate steps to improve the remuneration of 
teachers, both at the school and^college stages, on the broad lines 
recommended by the Education Commission. If they do so, the 
Finance Commission would certainly take into consideration 
the financial liabilities on this account while formulating its 
proposals for allocation of resources or grants-in-aid. This is 
an opportunity which no State Government can afford to miss. 

The picture regarding the general education and profes- 
sional preparation of teachers shows immense variations from 
State to State. At the primary stage, for example, Kerala has 
all trained teachers, a two-year training course after the 
secondary school and fairly good standards in training insti- 
tutions. West Bengal, on the other hand, has a large backlog 
of untrained teachers (about two-thirds) , a one-year course 
of teacher education and comparatively unsatisfactory train- 
ing institutions. In the general education of teachers, for 
instance, the qualifications are very high in West Bengal and 
comparatively very low in Maharashtra. It will, therefore, be 
necessary for each State to examine its own situation and pre- 
pare a detailed and realistic programme for the improvement 
of teacher education within its area, on the broad lines recom- 
mended by the Education Commission. By and large, the 
emphasis in these programmes should be on in-service educa- 
tion, correspondence courses, part-time training facilities in 
urban areas where they can be conveniently organised and 
improvement in the quality of training institutions. Each Slate 
should also establish a State Board of Teacher Education to 
supervise and assist in the implementation of these 

Secondary and Higher Education : The fourth priority 
should be accorded, in my opinion, for programmes of 
secondary and higher education which, for several reasons, 
have to be considered together. 

My first proposal in this regard is that it is not desirable to 
have an integrated single course of secondary education as 
recommended by the Mudaliar Commission. The practice in 
most advanced countries conforms to this. For example, in 

the USA, the secondary course is spread over six years divided 
into two parts of three years each. The same is the situation in 
Japan. In England also, the secondary course is divided into 
two parts by the GCE examination. I would also like to point 
out that there are two main difficulties with an integrated 
course of secondary education. 

(1) At the point of entry to the course, the pupil is too 
young to take any decision about his future career and it is next 
to impossible for the State to introduce any element of selective 
admissions. Consequently, more students enter the course than 
is necessary; and once they enter it, they have to continue 
till they reach the end. This increases enrolments and also 
adds to wastage and stagnation. 

(2) It is also difficult, in an integrated course, to provide 
adequately for vocationalisation and an attempt is made to 
give a bias for a vocation. This does not work out satisfactorily 
in practice. 

Both these difficulties can be overcome by dividing the 
secondary education course into two parts, the first of which 
will be broadly restricted to general education and the second 
will be intensively vocationalised and made largely terminal. 
This is the essence of the recommendation made by the 
Education Commission for adopting the pattern of 10 + 2 + 3. 

I very strongly feel that steps should be taken, right in the 
Fourth Plan, to give effect to this recommendation. The first 
step would be to adopt the 10-year school in all parts of the 
country with a public examination at the end. This will 
provide a course of broad general education for all— there is 
no need to introduce any elective element at this stage— and 
the ultimate policy should be to make this education free and 
universal. The next step is to introduce the higher secondary 
course of two years and the three-year course for the first 
degree examination in Arts, Science and Commerce. Where 
the total period required for the first degree is already 15 years 
or more— and this is so in more than half of India— the pro- 
gramme can be introduced without much difficulty and addi- 
tional expenditure. Where, however, an additional year is re- 
quired, as in most northern States, a suitably phased programme 
will have to be prepared, a year being added at the higher 





secondary stage as in Rajasthan or at the degree stage as in 
Uttar Pradesh. 

My second proposal in this regard is that our emphasis in 
secondary and higher education should now be effectively 
shifted from expansion of facilities to programmes of qualita- 
tive improvement. I have not said so at the primaiy stage 
where I am of the view that expansion will have to continue 
and be accelerated for some years to come. But the position 
at the secondary and university stages is entirely different. 
In the first place, the significance of standards is much greater 
at this stage than at the primary, and this significance in- 
creases, in more than geometric progression, as one moves up 
the educational ladder— from lower to higher secondary, from 
secondary to under-graduate, and from under-graduate to 
post-graduate and research. Secondly, the expansion of enrol- 
ments at these stages has been going on during the last twenty 
years, at about 10 per cent per year. The additional invest- 
ment we have been making in this sector during the same 
period, even at current prices, is of the same order or even 
less. Consequently, we are now spending, at constant prices, 
less per student in secondary and higher education than we 
did about twenty years ago. As everyone is aware, the conse- 
quences of this on quality have been disastrous. The situation 
will become worse if we do not slow down the pace of expan- 
sion because the additional investment we may be able to 
make in these sectors in the years ahead may not reach even 
the dimensions of the last few years. It therefore becomes al- 
most inevitable that the expansion rates in secondary and 
higher education are reduced. This alone can provide the 
breathing space we need to make some definite improvements 
in quality. It will also enable us to spare more resources for 
the expansion of facilities at the primary stage. One should 
not ignore the fact that for one student not admitted to 
secondary school, about three students can be admitted to the 
primary school and that for each student not admitted at the 
university stage, at least ten students can be admitted at the 
primary stage. 

How can this slowing down of the tempo of expansion be 
brought about? A number of specific proposals can be made 
from this point of view. 

(1) The location of secondary schools and colleges should 
be carefully planned to avoid unhealthy educational competi- 
tion, overlapping or duplication. The findings of the Second 
Education Survey could be a good basis for such planning at 
the secondary stage. At the university stage, the task will have 
to be attempted by the universities. 

(2) Considerable restraint will have to be exercised in the 
establishment of new universities. The policy recommended 
by the Education Commission that a university centre should 
be established first and then developed into a university when 
adequate resources in terms of teachers and finances are 
available is a good basis to adopt. 

(3) Where, as in Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, most of 
the secondary schools and colleges are in the public sector, 
limitations of finance necessarily control the tempo of expan- 
sion. But where private enterprise plays a dominating role 
at these stages, as in Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh, expansion 
is generally rapid and difficult for the State Government 
effectively to control. It would, therefore, be desirable to 
prescribe stricter conditions for recognition and affiliation and 
to enforce them rigorously. In Madras, for example, a new 
secondary school can be recognised only if there is a reserve 
fund of Rs. 75,000 and a college can be recognised only if it 
builds up an endowment fund of Rs. 5 lakhs and collects 
another Rs. 5 lakhs for initial capital expenditure. Similar 
measures should be adopted in all States. The academic con- 
ditions in terms of teachers, facilities provided, etc. will also 
have to be made more rigorous. 

(4) At the beginning of the lower secondary stage (classes 
VIII-X) it may not be possible to introduce any element of 
selective admissions. An attempt should, however, be made 
to provide adequate educational guidance so that a student 
is helped to decide whether he should discontinue education 
or proceed further and the type of course he should enter 
upon. But it should be clearly laid down that education be- 
yond class X cannot be claimed as a matter of right. 

(5) At the higher secondary stage (classes XI-XII) an 
earnest effort should be made to increase the facilities for 
vocational education of appropriate categories so that students 
completing this stage would be largely diverted into different 





walks of life. To assist in this process, the existing recruit- 
ment policies for Central and State government services 
should also be so modified that the bulk of persons selected 
for them would be from among those who have completed 
secondary education. Both these measures would considerably 
reduce the pressure of admission to higher education. 

(6) It would also be desirable to restrict enrolments at the 
university stage on the basis of the facilities which can be 
realistically provided in terms of teachers and equipment and 
estimated man-power needs or employment opportunities. The 
total number of students to be admitted to a college or to a 
university department should be definitely fixed on the basis 
of these considerations and rigorously adhered to. 

(7) If the number of applicants to a college or a university 
department is less than the seats available, the question of 
selection does not arise. But if the number of applicants 
exceeds the seats, the best among the applicants should be 
selected on some equitable basis. The question of devising 
suitable selection procedures is important, no doubt. But 
these will be evolved in the light of experience once the 
principle of selective admissions gets general acceptance and 
comes into vogue. 

It is rather unfortunate that these allied problems of 
slowing down the pace of expansion at the university stage 
and introducing, where necessary, an element of selection in 
admissions to higher education have not been squarely faced ^ 
so far. It is high time that a definite decision is taken in all 
these matters and rigorously implemented. 

It would be appropriate to say something at this point on 
the problem of educated unemployment. The gap between 
education and employment which has been continually widen- 
ing in recent years has to be closed as early as possible, the 
ultimate objective being, as the Education Commission has 
recommended, to move towards a situation in which every 
graduate can be given, along with his degree or diploma, an 
offer of employment as well. This will improve the motivation 
of students, give a purpose to their education and make them 
feel that the country needs them and is waiting for them. 

1 he slowing down of the pace of expansion in secondary and 

higher education is a necessary but insufficient step towards 
the solution of this complex and difficult problem which can 
only be solved by an integrated programme of population con- 
trol, economic development, and educational reconstruction. 
At present, the annual additions to the labour force are very 
large, about two per cent per annum , owing to an inordinately 
high birth-rate. The new jobs that we can create are, on the 
other hand, comparatively limited because of a low rate of 
economic growth. Moreover, education is not adequately 
related to productivity so that the students that come out of 
our educational institutions do not appreciate the dignity of 
manual labour and do not develop the attitudes which are 
essential for responsible productive work. Many of them only 
want white-collar jobs, which are in short supply, while a 
large number of jobs and opportunities of productive work 
remain unutilised for want of properly trained man-power. 
What is now needed is an earnest effort 

(a) to control population and to reduce our birthrate to 
about half of its present size; 

(b) to increase agricultural production and develop 
industry so as to attain an annual growth rate of about 
six or seven per cent in our economy; and 

(c) to reconstruct our educational system so that every 
educated individual becomes, not a problem, but an 
effective centre of increased and more efficient pro- 

This is the crux of the recommendations made by the Educa- 
tion Commission and I hope that an earnest effort will now 
be made to implement them without delay. 

My third proposal in this regard is that we should launch 
an intensive effort to improve the standards of education at 
the secondary and university stages. The possibility of a 
major effort in this direction will be enhanced to the extent 
we succeed in slowing down the pace of expansion. 

At the secondary stage, the focal point of our efforts should 
be to improve teaching in all subjects, and especially in 
mathematics and science. From this point of view, special 
emphasis will have to be placed on improving the quality of 
teachers, revision and upgrading of curricula, provision of 




adequate facilities— especially libraries, laboratories and 
crafts-sheds— improvement of supervision and organisation of 
extension services. At the lower secondary stage (classes 
VIII-X), a point of emphasis should be remedial work, i.e., 
making up the deficiencies of preparation at the primary 
stage. I would also like to refer to the general view that the 
one-year pre-university courses, which are often reduced in 
practice to about five months or so, are not very helpful to 
equip the students for entrance to the university. In my 
opinion, the lengthening of the higher secondary course to 
two years will provide an excellent opportunity to prepare 
students intensively for the university and this should be fully 

The stress on the improvement of quality at the university 
stage should be greater still. A system of higher education 
which produces competent man-power of good quality can 
promote national development. On the other hand, a system of 
higher education which produces indifferently educated 
young persons who remain unemployed or are even unem- 
ployable can create social tensions and retard economic 
growth. That is why Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru observed: “If 
the universities discharge their duties adequately, it is well 
with the nation and the people.” Unfortunately, our system 
of higher education is in an unhealthy state at present. The 
growing incidence of student unrest, involving an increasing 
element of violence, bears witness to the seriousness of the 
situation. Things are especially bad in U.P., Bihar and West . 
Bengal where the system is almost collapsing in many cases. 

In Calcutta University, the March 1967 examinations have 
not yet been held. In UP and Bihar, invigilation in examina- 
tions has become extremely difficult and attacks on invigila- 
tors, sometimes resulting in death, have become frequent. 
Concerted action on the part of the Centre, the States and the 
university teachers is called for to remedy the situation and 
their efforts will have to receive the co-operation of parents 
and the political parties. The Government of India which is 
constitutionally responsible for the co-ordination and main- 
tenance of standards in higher education has also a special 
responsibility for initiating effective action in this field. 

In the programmes of qualitative improvement of higher 

education, the focus should be on the student. Steps should 
be taken to provide adequate student services in all colleges 
and universities. As stated earlier, the provision of adequate 
text-book libraries to which all students can have easy access 
will be an important part of these services. Moreover, active 
steps should be taken to establish close contacts between teachers 
and students. As recommended by the Education Commission, 
joint committees of teachers and students should be established 
in all colleges and universities with a view to providing a forum 
for common discussion of problems and finding solutions to 
them. Programmes of national service and games and sports 
should be developed as an alternative to the NCC which is 
compulsory for all at present. 

Improvement of standards in higher education also depends 
upon the leadership provided, the availability of funds and 
concentration of resources, both human and material. Every 
care should, therefore, be taken to see that the right type of 
persons are appointed as Vice-Chancellors. Equal care has 
also to be taken in the appointment of heads of departments 
in universities and principals of colleges. The Government 
of India has to make more resources available to the univer- 
sities and, as Dr D. S. Kothari has pointed out, a substantial 
increase will have to be made in the funds placed at the dis- 
posal of the University Grants Commission from year to year. 
The State Governments, on their part, will have to be equally 
liberal in providing adequate maintenance grants and match- 
ing funds for the developmental grants given by the UGC. 
As stated earlier, appropriate machineries for planning and 
development should be set up in each college and university 
and every assistance should be available to colleges and 
university departments which show good performance and 
jxuential for growth. 

One of the major programmes of reform in higher educa- 
tion is to adopt the regional languages as media of education. 
Unless this is done, the standards of higher education will not 
be raised, the creative energies of the people will not be 
released, knowledge will not spread to the masses, the process 
of modernisation will not be accelerated and the gulf between 
the intelligentsia and the people will not be bridged. This 
reform has been in demand for nearly a hundred years. It 


has had the support oi : all our great national leaders such as 
Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, it has been 
supjDortecl by several academic bodies such as the Radlia- 
krishnan Commission, the Emotional Integration Committee, 
the Vice-Chancellors' Conference, the Central Advisory Board 
of Education and the Education Commission; and yet .the 
progress made so far has been halting and desultory. What 
is needed is a planned attempt to bring about this change by 
producing the necessary literature needed in Indian languages 
and simultaneously strengthening the teaching of English as 
a library language with a view to giving the students direct 
access to the growing knowledge in the world. This must be 
a high priority programme to which university teachers 
will have to address themselves during the next ten years. 

A big effort is needed in the Fourth Plan to develop post- 
graduate education, which at present has become a bottleneck 
because the expansion at the lower stages is quite out of pro- 
portion to the growth at the post-graduate stage. Consequ- 
ently, we do not get good teachers for colleges. This dilutes 
under-graduate education and makes it difficult to get good 
teachers for secondary schools. In its turn, this dilutes second- 
ary education itself and makes it impossible for us to get good 
teachers for elementary schools. The only way to break this 
vicious circle is to double or even treble the output at the 
post-graduate stage during the next few years. In this, the 
Government of India has a very important role to play. It 
must find the policies and the resources needed for this 
purpose because no one else can or will do so. 

Professional , Technical and Vocational Education : The 
fifth and the last group of programmes which I shall briefly 
discuss relates to professional, technical and vocational educa- 
tion. A number of important programmes will have to be 
developed in this sector during the next few years. In parti- 
cular it is necessary to emphasise agricultural education. 
Dr Kothari has pointed out that the status of agricultural 
education in our university system is almost the same as that 
in the UK although the role of agriculture in our economy is 
far more important. Such an anomaly should be ended as soon 
as possible. 


(1) The education of the young practising farmer has been 
very largely neglected so far. It is, therefore, necessary to develop 
a programme of primary extension centres recommended by 
the Education Commission. A primary extension centre will 
provide part-time vocational education to those young per- 
sons who have left school and adopted agriculture as their 
career. This will essentially be a practical course whose main 
objective is to enable the trainees to improve production on 
their own farms by adopting improved techniques and will 
not qualify them for a job under government. A very large 
number of such primary extension centres will have to be 
established in the long run because a centre will have to be 
available within five to seven miles of every village. But a 
beginning may be made on an experimental basis and the 
programme expanded in the light of the experience gained. 

(2) There are not many facilities at present which prepare 
young persons to work at the middle level in agricultural or 
agro-industrial development. It is with a view to remedying 
this weakness that the Education Commission recommended 
the establishment of agricultural polytechnics. This pro- 
gramme should be started in the Fourth Plan in a few centres 
and a beginning should be made with such courses and train- 
ing facilities as have an immediate demand. 

(3) The programme of agricultural universities should be 
expanded further and their working should be closely inte- 
grated with that of the other universities. 

(4) In technical education, the projections of engineers 
needed have all gone wrong and, from the evidence available 
at present, it appears that we are over-producing engineers. 
There is thus no question of starting new engineering col- 
leges, not even of increasing the in-take of existing institu- 
tions. On the other hand, it has become necessary to reduce 
immediately the in-take facilities by about one-third 
if the unemployment situation amongst engineers is not 
to be worsened. Similar measures, although on a smaller scale, 
will be needed at the middle level in respect of polytechnics. 
For the next few years, therefore, efforts should be concentrat- 
ed on improving the quality of technical education and on 
linking it more closely with industry. 

(5) The shape of things in agriculture and industry is 





continually changing. Programmes of agricultural and techni- 
cal education will, therefore, have to be elastic and sensitive 
enough to be adjusted meaningfully to the changing conditions. 

(6) In providing training for professional, technical and 
vocational education, there should be great emphasis on train- 
ing for self-employment, especially in the simple crafts, forms 
of commerce, trade and industry, and the necessary facilities 
should be given for such persons to engage themselves in 
remunerative self-employment after the training is over. 

These are some of the major programmes which, in my 
opinion, should be considered for inclusion in the new Fourth 
Five-Year Plan. They are all based on one major assumption 
that a reorientation of both our educational and economic 
thinking is needed. This reorientation is to move away from 
the top structure or urban areas of the society and to direct 
attention to increasing the productivity of the rural economy 
where the great mass of potential producers is to be found. 
It is to move away from a policy of providing more and better 
education to those who are already educated but towards the 
creation of opportunity at a level where the great mass of the 
Indian people are capable of taking an initiative and put to 
use skills and intelligence which are constantly under-esti- 
mated. In terms of educational planning, this new reorienta- 
tion includes the control of expansion at the secondary and the 
higher stages of education, the diversification of the secondary 
level to provide large-scale vocational training, especially in 
agriculture, training of young persons in self-employment at 
various levels of craft, trade, commerce or industry, emphasis 
on functional literacy, development of community effort for 
improvement of educational facilities and taking the fastest 
route possible to provide five years of good and effective edu- 
cation to all children. 


In spite of the opening statement that these proposals are 
based on the selective approach, they may still be criticised on 
the ground that these are not selective enough, that it will not 
be possible to muster enough resources to attend to all of 
these, and that a further selection will still be necessary. I 

plead guilty to this charge and admit that priorities will have 
to be determined, even within the limited proposals put for- 
ward here. 

At what level will decisions on these priorities be taken? 
In the first three plans, far too many decisions on priorities 
were taken at the national level and centrally sponsored 
schemes were devised to give effect to them. The idea under- 
lying this approach was that there could be a large number 
of priority programmes common to all States and that they 
could best be promoted through centrally sponsored schemes 
which made earmarked grants available to the State Govern- 
ments. The experience of this type of planning has not been 
very happy, mainly because educational problems vary from 
State to State and it is very difficult to devise common pro- 
grammes which will have priority in all the States. Teacher 
education may be a priority in Assam or West Bengal but it 
has no priority to the same extent in Kerala or the Punjab. 
Girls' education may be a priority in Rajasthan but not to the 
same extent in Madras. Development of facilities for higher 
education is a priority programme in certain districts of Orissa 
and Madhya Pradesh but not so in most districts of West 
Bengal or U.P. The same can be said about almost every pro- 
gramme. The Education Commission which examined this 
problem at some length has pointed out that, in our situation, 
priorities will have to be determined at three levels— national, 
state and local. It says: 

(1) Programmes of national significance such as voca- 
tionalization of secondary education may be regarded as 
national priorities in the sense that the decisions regard- 
ing them should be taken by the Centre in consultation 
with the States and, once they are taken, it should be obli- 
gatory on every State to implement them effectively and 

(2) In several other matters, and these would form the 
bulk of the decisions to be made, a system of State-level 
priorities should be adopted, i.e., each State may be left to 
make its own best decision in view of local conditions. 
These would include problems such as making secondary 


education free of tuition fees and in such matters, no 
attempt at a national uniformity need be made. 

(3) In certain other matters, as for instance, in the pro- 
vision of amenities in schools, a system of local priorities 
may be adopted. The State Governments may create appro- 
priate authorities at the district and school levels and leave 
them free to take decisions best suited to the local condi- 
tions. There should be no need to expect any uniformity 
in these matters between one district and another and even 
between one school and another. 

A system such as this which centralizes a few essential 
sectors at the national level would be much better than 
the present trend to take more and more decisions— crucial 
or otherwise— at the national and State levels. This some- 
times results in the curbing of local initiative and dis- 
regard of local conditions. 

This recommendation could be the basis of the policy to be 
adopted in the fourth and subsequent plans. 


If the major programme of educational reform outlined here 
is to be satisfactorily implemented, it is evident that the admin- 
istrative machinery, both at the Centre and in the States, will 
have to be considerably reorganised and strengthened. Some 
of the changes needed in this sector have already been in- 
cidentally referred to. In addition, there are a few major 
changes needed which I propose to discuss here in brief. 

Administration at the Centre: The Central Ministry of 
Education has the responsibility to provide stimulating leader- 
ship in educational development. It can discharge this res- 
ponsibility effectively only if the administrative procedures 
make it possible to invite individuals who have stature and 
leadership of their own in the educational world to work in 
the Ministry of Education in responsible posts and participate 
effectively in the formulation of educational policies and their 
implementation. From this point of view, one tradition has 
already been established in the last twenty years, namely, the 
post of the Secretary to the Ministry of Education has been 


offered to and held by distinguished educationists. It is very 
necessary that this tradition should be continued and, as 
recommended by the Education Commission, be extended 
to all the posts at the Additional and Joint Secretary levels. 
These posts should be held, on a tenure basis, by distin- 
guished educationists selected from the universities, the State 
Departments of Education and research and educational 
institutions, the duration of the term being five years to be 
extended, in exceptional cases, by another term of five years. 
Persons who are working in the lower posts in the Ministry 
of Education may be considered for these posts on individual 
merit. But they should not be entitled to them as a matter of 

There is an advisory service of educational officers work- 
ing in the Ministry of Education. Several difficulties arise 
because of the small size of this service and because the officers 
recruited to it are compelled to work in the Ministry of Educa- 
tion only and cannot be provided with direct field experience 
from time to time. These difficulties would have disappeared 
if the IES could have been created. But the chances of its 
creation now appear to be remote and alternative proposals 
will therefore have to be evolved to strengthen and improve 
this service. Probably a good way out would be to make 
arrangements with the State Governments, Union Territory 
Administrations and the universities for the periodical 
deputation of officers of the advisory service to work in the 
field. A certain number of posts in the service could also he 
reserved for deputation of officers from the State Education 
Departments for short tenures on the same lines as the 
periodical deputation to the Centre of the IAS officers allocated 
to the different States, 

Outside the Ministry of Education, there are two main 
organisations which deal with education— the University 
Grants Commission which is concerned with higher education 
and the National Council of Educational Research and 
Training which is mainly concerned with the school stage. 
The scope and functions of the UGC cover, under the law, 
all sectors of higher education. But in practice, the UGC deals 
only with Arts, Science and Commerce, Technical education 
is dealt with directly by the Ministry of Education, agricul- 



tural education by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 
and medical education by the Ministry of Health. As the 
Sapru Committee and the Education Commission have re- 
commended, it would be desirable to bring all higher educa- 
tion under one umbrella in practice also and place it under 
the UGC, UGC-type bodies being created, if necessary, for 
agricultural, 'medical and technical education, as a transitional 
measure. The UGC also has to provide more active leader- 
ship in the improvement of higher education by developing 
programmes at the national level in such fields as examina- 
tion reform, establishment and maintenance of a Central 
Testing Organisation, promotion of research, especially on 
the basis of inter-university collaboration, development of 
autonomous colleges or deemed universities, book production 
programmes, etc. The working of the National Council of 
Educational Research and Training needs a thorough review 
and large-scale reorganisation. Its functions should be exclu- 
sively restricted to the school stage of education and its main 
responsibilities should be to provide extension services to the 
State Education Departments. 

A very important responsibility of the Government of 
India is to serve as a clearing house of information and ideas 
—both in the international as well as in the national field. 
The Ministry of Education has to keep itself in touch with 
important educational developments in other countries and 
bring these to the notice of the State Governments, univer- 
sities, etc. insofar as they have a significant bearing on our 
problems. Within the country itself, it has to remain in close 
touch with the educational developments in every State and 
bring these to the notice of the other States. The need for 
this service will become greater as the State Governments 
adopt the regional languages for their administrative pur- 
poses. I think that in both these fields the services offered by 
the Ministry of Education are comparatively weak at present. 
There is thus an urgent need for the establishment, at the 
national level, of a strong documentation centre and clearing 
house for the proper development of these important services. 

Administration in the States: Insofar as the State Educa- 


tion Departments are concerned, the following programmes 
need consideration: 

(1) At the State level, there should be a Board of Educa- 
tion to advise Government on all educational matters. It 
should include representatives of all the interests concerned. 

(2) The Directorate of Education should only concern 
itself with general co-ordination and policy. As integral parts 
of the Directorate, and working in close collaboration with 
it, there should also be specialised organisations concerned 
with specific programmes of qualitative improvement such as 
(a) The State Institute of Education, ( b ) The State Board 
of Teacher Education, (c) The State Board of School Educa- 
tion, (d) The State Bureau of Text-book Production and 
Curriculum Research, (e) The State Evaluation Organisation, 
etc. A broad indication of the organisations needed at the 
State level and their functions has been given in the Report 
of the Education Commission. Changes could also be made 
in these proposals to meet local conditions. But the main 
point to be emphasised is that there should be adequate 
agencies at the State level to look after the programmes of 
academic improvement and these should work in close 
collaboration with the agency for administration and super- 
vision which the Directorate of Education essentially is. 

(3) The District should be regarded as the principal unit 
for administration and supervision and adequate machinery 
should be created at this level for supervision of schools and 
provision of extension services to them. In big States, divisional 
offices may be set up between the Directorate and the dis- 
tricts. But the ultimate objective should be made to make 
the district offices as strong as possible. All administrative 
and financial issues should be finally decided at the district 
or the divisional levels and should not climb up to the 
Directorate which should be left mainly to deal with broad 

(4) Steps will have to be taken to improve the quality of 
the personnel working in the State Education Departments. 
Instead of creating too many posts at the lower levels, which 
is broadly the policy at present, it might be desirable to create 
a few posts at higher levels of salaries and competence. The 
recruitment policies are often such that the bulk of the 




recruitment takes places at the lowest level and the posts at 
higher levels are filled largely by promotions from the lower 
ranks. Instead, it should be the general policy to fill a very 
large proportion of posts at every level by open competition 
so that fresh blood and talent is attracted in adequate 
quantity. The scales of pay of the teaching and inspecting 
staff should generally be the same so that interchange of 
persons between teaching and inspection or administrative 
side becomes more frequent. There are hardl^any facilities 
for proper in-service education of the officers of the State 
Education Departments at present. Adequate facilities for this 
will have to be provided, both at the State and at the national 

The essence of administration for educational development 
is to give a proper place to the professional leadership of 
teachers. This is already the practice at the university stage 
but special measures will have to be adopted to develop it at 
the school stage as well. Teachers should constitute a majority 
of members of organisations like the State Boards of School 
Education or the State Boards of Teacher Education. The 
system of panel inspections should be adopted at the school 
stage with a view to enabling teachers to play an active role 
in improving educational standards. Professional organisa- 
tions of teachers should be consulted on all matters of educa- 
tional policy and reform and should be actively associated 
with the implementation of programmes. Subject-teachers’ 
associations should be developed and utilised intensively for 
improvement in methods of teaching and evaluation. Efforts 
should also be made to break up the 'caste’ system that 
imperceptibly grows up among teachers and to create forums 
where teachers of all categories can work together to pursue 
common objectives. 

The programmes of administrative reform are crucial to 
successful implementation. These should therefore be re- 
garded as 'core’ programmes— along with the four others men- 
tioned earlier— and implemented on a basis of very high 

The programme of large-scale educational development 
visualised here will also mean a considerable increase in the 


total investment in education. The Education Commission 
recommended that the allocations to education should in- 
crease at about 10 per cent per year at constant prices. This 
would probably be the minimum required; and if it is to be 
realised, we shall have to evolve a multiple-source system of 
financing education in which the Government of India, State 
Governments, local authorities, voluntary organisations and 
local communities will join together to strengthen and 
supplement the efforts made by the other agencies. None of 
these agencies taken by itself can meet the challenge of the 
situation; but all of them taken together should be able to do so. 

The Kher Committee recommended as early as 1950 that 
the Government of India should spend about ten per cent 
of its total revenues on education. I do not quite approve of 
this idea of planning by percentages. But it emphasises the 
view of the Committee that education is a national con- 
cern and that the Government of India should provide a 
fairly substantial support for it. At the present moment, the 
Government of India is spending only about four per cent 
of its budget on education. There is thus a good case for 
asking for a substantial increase in the Central investment in 

How can the Central allocations to education be best 
utilised? Obviously, this can be done in three ways: 

(1) The Central sector can be expanded to provide more 
national scholarships, develop agricultural, engineering and 
medical education, promote educational research, make larger 
allocations to the University Grants Commission for such 
programmes as the Centres of Advanced Studies, Schools of 
Education, Post-graduate Education and Research, main- 
tenance grants to State Universities, qualitative improvement 
of higher education and provision of student services and 

(2) A few major schemes can be developed in the centrally 
sponsored sector. These should be programmes of national 
significance in which simultaneous and co-ordinated action on 
the part of the State Governments is necessary. The financial 
support for such programmes could be made by the Centre 
through earmarked grants given to the State Governments. 

(3) The Centre can also make lump sum grants for educa- 





tional development available to the State Governments. These 
should be distributed on some equitable basis and should be 
earmarked in the sense that they will be used for educational 
development only. But each State should be free to utilise 
the funds for such programmes as have a priority in its 

State Governments have naturally to bear the heaviest res- 
ponsibility for financing education. The Kher Committee 
recommended that the State Governments should spend 
about 20 per cent of their total revenues on education. Several 
States have now reached or exceeded this target. But even 
now, the State effort for education shows considerable varia- 
tions— allocations to education varying from about 42 per 
cent in one State to 16 per cent in another. It is thus evident 
that there is considerable scope for greater financial effort in 
support of education in many States. I am also pained 
by the fact that, by and large, State Governments do not 
seem to accord a high priority to educational programmes. 
In the first three plans, education received about 10 per cent 
of the total state plan outlay. When the Fourth Five-Year 
Plan (1966-71) was being prepared, it was assumed that the 
States would now accord a higher priority to education and 
would give it about 12.5 per cent of the total plan allocations. 
As things turned out, however, education received only about 
10 per cent in the Fourth Five Year Plans of the State Govern- 
ments. Even these reduced targets were not realised in 
practice. Taking the years 1966-67 to 1968-69 as a whole, 
education received only about 6 per cent of the total State 
plan outlay, partly because the overall amounts available for 
planned development were reduced and partly because higher 
priorities were given to agriculture, irrigation, power, industry 
and family planning. In other words, education was given a 
much lower priority in the State plans during the last three 
years than in the first three Plans. This trend will have to be 
reversed; and in the new Fourth Plan, State Governments 
will have to give a higher priority to education than in the 

The local authorities can make a substantial contribution 
to the support of education. At present, the position varies 
largely from State to State— their contribution being fairly 

substantial in States like Maharashtra and Madras and almost 
non-existent in States like Punjab or Kerala. The general 
policy should therefore be to associate local authorities with 
the administration of education and make them contribute 
to its support by the levy of education cesses in urban and 
rural areas. A minimum cess should be obligatory and in 
order to stimulate the raising of funds to the maximum, 
grants-in-aid from the State Government should be given to 
match all levies above the minimum rates. A plan like this 
has been tried successfully in Maharashtra; and there is no 
doubt that it can yield good results in other parts of the 
country as well. 

The voluntary organisations are finding it more and more 
difficult to raise funds towards recurring expenditure the 
bulk of which will have to come from the State Govern- 
ments. In non-recurring expenditure, however, they can make 
a substantial contribution and this is what we should strive 
to get. The grant-in-aid rules should provide that the educa- 
tional institutions conducted by voluntary organisations will 
get grant-in-aid for capital expenditure on a certain propor- 
tion of the total cost, the balance coming from the voluntary 
organisations themselves. 

The local communities can also make considerable volun- 
tary contributions in support of education. In Madras, the 
scheme of school improvement conference has been very 
successful and through it, assistance worth crores of rupees 
lias been collected from the people to improve facilities in 
local primary schools. There is no reason why a similar scheme 
should not be developed in every State and Union Territory. 
In addition, the programme of instituting an ‘Education Fund 1 
in each educational institution will also be able to net sub- 
stantial contributions and donations from the people. The 
people are still willing to pay for education provided they 
can be assured that their contributions, along with some 
Government grant thereon, will be locally available to them 
for improving the educational facilities for their children. 

While efforts to maximise the investment in education on 
these lines will have to be continued, it must be realised that, 
in spite of our best will and efforts, the overall resources likely 


to be available for education in the new Fourth Five Year 
Plan will be limited. It is therefore very necessary to ensure 
that we obtain the maximum return from whatever invest- 
ment we now make in education. From this point of view, 
several programmes will have to be emphasised such as (a) an 
•intensive utilisation of available facilities, ( b ) reducing capital 
costs, especially on buildings and (c) reducing recurring cost 
per student by the adoption of suitable devices. 

Several programmes can be developed from this point of 
view, among which the following may be mentioned: 

(1) The number of working days should be increased and 
the working day should be lengthened. Vacations should be 
fully utilised for co-curricular and extra-curricular program- 
mes. Facilities like libraries, laboratories and crafts-sheds should 
be kept open all the year round and for as many times on 
each day as possible. Every effort should be made to create a 
climate of hard work in our educational institutions, the 
target being to keep students engaged in challenging pro- 
grammes for at least 50 to 60 hours a week throughout the 

(2) The expenditure on buildings should be reduced to the 
minimum by utilising locally available materials and by 
adopting utilitarian rather than ostentatious standards. Wher- 
ever possible, equipment should be shared in common by a 
group of schools; and when equipment becomes costly and 
sophisticated, it should be intensively and co-operatively used 
for the largest part of the day and throughout the year. 

(3) The recurring costs can be reduced in a number of ways. 
A reference has already been made to proper planning of the 
location of educational institutions which will help in creat- 
ing bigger, more efficient and more economic institutions. 
Reference has also been made to the adoption of a larger class 
size or a larger pupil- teacher ratio at the primary stage and 
developing suitable techniques of teaching for the purpose. 
At the secondary and university stages, it is quite possible to 
utilise advanced students for purposes of teaching and thereby 
reduce costs, provide a method of earning and learning to a 
fair proportion of students, and improve standards by giving 
individual attention to the weaker students. Very often, we 
adopt programmes which push up the cost per student with- 


out bringing in a corresponding return. The five-year degree 
course for engineering, the integrated course of general and 
professional education introduced in the regional colleges are 
good instances in point. A poor country like India cannot 
afford such luxuries. 

A major weakness in our administrative set-up is that we 
do not take the trouble to evaluate our programmes with a 
view to improving efficiency or cutting down costs. We there- 
fore learn little from pak experience and in our set-up, a man 
with twenty years experience often means a person who has 
repeated the same mistakes twenty times over. The price of 
efficiency and progress is eternal watchfulness. Evaluation 
should therefore be an integral part of all programmes we 
undertake, at least of all the major programmes; and every 
scheme drawn up for initiating a programme should categori- 
cally enunciate, along with its objectives and organisational 
and financial aspects, the manner in which it will be periodi- 
cally evaluated and modified in the light of experience gained. 


It has often been observed that we are a nation of good planners 
but bad implementers. I do not quite subscribe to this view. 
Our planning has had its own weaknesses which can no longer 
be ignored and the main theme put forward here is that we 
must take serious note of these weaknesses and improve our 
planning techniques without any delay. But I will concede the 
point that our plans have been fairly good and that, even if 
they had been implemented satisfactorily, the results would 
have been much better. Our major weakness therefore is the 
failure to implement. This is not a new thing either. We have 
always preferred to talk, to pass resolutions and to prepare 
ambitious plans that sound enchanting on paper. One often 
wishes however that we should have talked less and shown 
a greater flair for action, passed fewer resolutions but showed 
a greater resolution in implementing even a part of what was 
glibly agreed to, and prepared less ambitious plans but 
exerted more in implementing them. While discussing 
the ‘failure’ of basic education, my friend, the late Shri 
Aryanayakam, once said that we are a nation of planners and 





that we can prepare plans, not only for ourselves, but for 
every country on earth. We cannot however implement them. 
The only major projects which we have been able to imple- 
ment successfully, he said, are those like the steel plants over 
which we have entered into an agreement with some progres- 
sive country. Can we not, he asked, enter into an agreement 
with some nation— say, Germany or Japan— for making basic 
education successful? There is obviously a point in his bitter 
satirical rhetoric. 

Why is it that we fail to implement vigorously? The 
question has been often asked and several tentative answers 
have been suggested. The most common answer given relates 
to the failure of the human factor. There is however no 
agreement as to which human factor this is and a frequent 
exercise in this regard is to try to discover a scapegoat— the 
present company always being excluded— and to ride him 
hard. Politicians will blame the bureaucrats. Teachers will 
blame Government, the Department and, to some extent, the 
parents. Parents and bureaucrats will blame the teachers. 
Students will blame everyone else and everyone else will blame 
the politicians. This analysis does not obviously take us any- 
where. Another set of reasons given refers to unfavourable 
social or economic factors over which the school has no control 
or the lack of adequate co-operation from parents, the com- 
munity or other departments of governments. Chikhen do not 
come to school because of poverty or illiteracy of parents or 
social prejudices. Buildings are not put up because the public 
works departments are cussed. The text-books are not printed 
in time because the inefficiency of Government presses is 
colossal. The Centre blames the States; the States blame the 
local bodies and, wherever possible, the Centre; and so on. 
Sometimes the weaknesses of educational plans are also 
admitted. But one can easily get out of it by blaming the 
Planning Commission. Exercises of this type also can provide 
little guidance of a practical character to improve the situa- 
tion for the simple reason that they deal with superficial 
symptoms without going to the root causes of the trouble. 

The remedies prescribed on such superficial analysis of the 
causes of failure are naturally found to fall far short of expect- 
ations. For instance, the provision of amenities and facilities 

to students has been recommended as an important measure 
to control student unrest. But the universities where these 
amenities or facilities are probably the best are precisely the 
centres where student unrest has been endemic. The improve- 
ment of the salaries of teachers has often been put forward 
as the major panacea for all our educational ills. We have 
been increasing the scales of pay of teachers from time to time 
in the last twenty years. It will not, however, be easy to point 
out any major educational improvements that have resulted 
from this measure. Of course, I do not mean to say that amen- 
ities should not be provided to students or that scales of pay 
of teachers should not be improved. Both these reforms are 
urgent and necessary. But what I want to emphasise is that, 
taken by themselves, they will not solve the difficult problems 
facing us. What we need is some basic changes and reforms 
which go beyond all such measures and which form the crux 
of the total programme of the educational reconstruction we 
have in view. If these basic changes are brought about, every 
educational reform we undertake will pay rich dividends. But 
if they are to be carried out, we shall not get proper return 
even from those educational reforms which we are able to 
put across. This conclusion is further strengthened by the fact 
that the failure to implement is not peculiar to the educa- 
tional sector. In fact, what has been said above of educational 
reforms can be said of the reforms in almost every other sector. 
The reasons for our failure to implement educational plans 
are therefore deep-rooted and fundamental. They go much 
beyond education and result in our general failure to imple- 
ment plans in all sectors. 

What are these basic requirements which are essential to 
successful implementation of all programmes of national 
development. In my opinion, these are five: 

(1) The first is the love of the motherland. It is only this 
which can give us the energy to put in the mighty effort that 
is needed for national reconstruction and the courage to 
undergo all the heavy sacrifices which it will involve. 

(2) The second is the Swadeshi spirit. Psychologically it 
means feeling proud of being an Indian and confident of the 
greater future which we can create for ourselves. This spirit 
has to enter into every walk of life. For instance, in the field 





of economic development, it implies an insistence on buying 
India-made things only, even though they might be of inferior 
quality and more costly; and so on. 

(3) The third is willingness to work hard and in a spirit of 
dedication. For a developing country, which is short of 
resources in physical and financial terms, there is no escape 
from hard and dedicated work which can make up, to a very 
great extent, the shortfalls in material and financial resources. 
In fact, the only substitute for hard and sustained work in 
such circumstances is yet harder and more dedicated work. 

(4) The fourth is austerity and simplicity which are among 
the great lessons that Gandhiji taught us. Gandhi ji had his 
own metaphysical reasons for emphasising these values which 
we may or may not accept. But at the present level of our 
economic development, simplicity and austerity are no 
longer a matter of choice. They constitute an inescapable and 
effective strategy of development. 

(5) The fifth is willingness to share life with the masses. 
There has already been a gulf in our society between the 
educated classes and the masses. In the post-Independence 
period, this gulf has tended to widen rather than otherwise. 
Unless this gulf is bridged through a sharing of life with the 
people, the movement for national development will not gather 
momentum that it needs. 

We shall have to bring these five basic values to bear upon 
education. First and foremost, we have to develop a passionate 
commitment to national development and a conviction 
that education is the most powerful instrument of such 
development. Nothing can stand in the way of a nation 
which has decided to educate itself; and no country can be 
so poor that it cannot provide good education to its children. 
In my opinion, the principal bottleneck in our educational 
progress is not our poverty or our lack of resources. It is the 
lack of a conviction that education is the most important 
instrument of national development and the lack of a deter- 
mination to educate ourselves. Unless this commitment and 
conviction is created, education can never have the priority 
it needs or deserves. 

We must also, as I said earlier, develop a Swadeshi move- 
ment in education. More than anything else, it will involve 

(a) a shift in the ‘centre of gravity’ of our academic life inside 
the country; ( b ) hard, original and creative thinking to devise 
appropriate solutions to our problems; (c) an intensive effort 
to produce most of the text-books we need; and ( d ) to receive 
aid, if necessary at all, as a transitory step that will ultimately 
eliminate all need for external assistance. Such a movement 
must form the very basis of the fourth and subsequent plans. 

We must also be prepared to work hard and in a spirit of 
dedication. The under-utilisation of our existing educational 
facilities is an unpardonable waste in a developing economy 
like ours. We must realise that there is no road to develop- 
ment except through hard work and through the fullest 
utilisation of existing facilities. Similarly, we must realise that 
idealism is needed, now more than ever, in all walks of 
national life, and especially in education. It is the leaven of 
idealistic teachers and dedicated students that alone can help 
us to develop education to meet our national needs. 

There is an infinite scope for practising the virtues of 
austerity and simplicity in all our educational sectors, and 
particularly in higher education. I wish that the buildings of 
our universities, engineering colleges, institutes of technology 
or national laboratories were much simpler and less costly than 
they are at present. Our furniture could definitely be simpli- 
fied. Our hostels cost too much and have too many servants. 
If they were to be planned on a more austere basis and a good 
deal of self-service expected of all students, the costs would 
be reduced considerably and it would be easier for many more 
students to study in them. We have also evolved costly 
standards of dress for university students. These may suit 
the sons of the rich; but they do create difficult problems 
for the children of the middle and poor classes. 1 wish that 
we should introduce a far greater element of austerity and 
simplicity in the planning of our education with a view to 
relating it more closely to life and making it broad-based. 

We must also learn to share life with the masses of the 
people. With the attainment of independence, the educated 
people of this country have been put on their trial. Will they 
use their education, talent, wealth and power to raise the 
standard of living of the people and thereby reduce the gap 
between them and the people, the haves and the have-nots, 



or will they use these assets of theirs for strengthening and 
perpetuating their own privileged position so that the gull 
between them and the masses becomes wider still? Unfortu- 
nately, all that has happened so far makes me inclined to 
feel that they have chosen the latter course. In this lies the 
danger to the country and ultimately to the educated classes 
themselves. They should therefore realise that, even in their 
own enlightened self-interest, it is essential that they become 
one with the people and share a common life with them. I 
hope and pray that they realise these responsibilities and rise 
to the occasion. Perhaps there could be no better way to show 
this realisation in education than to adopt the concept of the 
neighbourhood school. 

I am convinced, more than ever, that what we need at the 
moment to pull us out of the series of crises we are in is a 
renewal in national life. This may come about in the political 
life of the country through a regeneration of our political 
leadership. Nothing can be better if that were possible be- 
cause this generation can then spread quickly and effectively 
to all other walks of life. Alternatively, this renewal may 
begin in education through a regeneration of the academic 
community which should become a dedicated and true servant 
of the people, passionately striving for their betterment. It 
can then spread to other walks of life and ultimately result 
in bringing about an all-sided development of the nation. As 
a teacher, I feel that this latter development is more possible 
and it is in our hands to bring it about. It is in this sense that 
the Education Commission has pointed out that educational 
reconstruction in India ‘presents a supreme challenge to the 
students, teachers and educational administrators who are now 
called upon to create a system of education related to the life, 
needs and aspirations of the people and to maintain it at the 
highest level of efficiency. It is upon their response to this 
challenge that the future of the country depends/ 




1. The preliminary thinking about educational planning 
began in India about thirty years ago and it became a national 
policy in 1951. Three Five Year Plans have since been com- 
pleted and have been followed by three Annual Plan years-. 
The Indian experiment thus provides a rich experience of 
educational planning in a developing country; and all the 
more so because the programme has been developed in a 
democratic context and because the problems to be tackled are 
extremely complex and difficult. 

I I. EARLY ATTEMPTS (1937-1947) 

2. In the decade preceding the attainment of independence 
(1937-47), there were attempts, in official as well as non-official 
circles, to prepare a plan of educational development for the 

3. The Post-War Plan of Educational Development in 
India (1944-84) . On the official side, the task was undertaken 
by the Central Advisory Board of Education, the highest 
advisory body at the national level which is presided over by 
the Union Minister for Education and includes all State Edu- 
cation Ministers and some eminent educationists as members. 
During 1938-43, it appointed a number of committees to 
examine different aspects of educational reconstruction. In 
1944, all these studies were welded together and a comprehen- 
sive plan of educational development in the country was pre- 

* Paper presented at the Round Table Conference on ‘The Role of 
Educational Planning in the Economic Development of the Arab World’ 
at Beirut, Lebanon, February 19-28, 1967. 



4. The main features of this plan which covered a period 
of 40 years (1944-84) are briefly indicated below: 

Pre-primary education was to be provided for children in 
the age-group 3-6, the object being to cater for ultimately one 
child out of every 21 in the age-group. 

Primary education was to be free and compulsory for all 
children in the age group 6-14. Every primary teacher was to 
be a secondary school graduate with two years of training 
and was to receive a decent scale of pay and adequate retire- 
ment benefits. Provision was also to be made for ancillary 
services such as school meals and school health and for the 
construction and supply of buildings and equipment on an 
adequate scale. 

The secondary schools covered a six-year course (Classes 
VI-XI, corresponding to the age group 11-17) and were to be of 
two types: academic and technical. Admission to these 

institutions was to be highly selective and one child in every 
five who completed the junior primary school was to be 
selected on the basis of his capacity and promise. In order 
that no poor child of ability might be excluded, assistance was 
to be provided in the form of free places, scholarships and 
stipends for 50 per cent of the children. Provision was to be 
made for the appointment of properly qualified, well paid 
and well trained teachers and for buildings, equipment and 
ancillary services to children. 9 

In higher education, admission was to be given only to 
one student out of every fifteen who completed the secondary 
school. The four-year university course for the first 
liberal arts degree which then existed was to be converted 
into a three-year degree course and its first year was to be added 
on to the high school. Adequate provision was also proposed 
for financial assistance to poor students of capacity, for 
maintenance of high standards and for the establishment of a 
University Grants Committee. 

A fairly adequate provision was made for technical edu- 
cation at both the secondary and university levels in order to 
meet the needs of industry and commerce for skilled techni- 
cians and middle-level man-power. 

In adult education, the Plan visualized the liquidation of 
mass illiteracy in a programme spread over 25 years and 


proposed to make about 90 million adults literate. It also 
recommended the development of libraries. 

The plan placed great emphasis on the training of teachers. 
In addition, it proposed to make adequate provision for the 
education of the handicapped, for provision of facilities for 
recreation and social service, for organization of youth welfare 
programmes, for establishment of employment bureaux and 
for strengthening and improvement of the State Education 

5. No attempt was made in the Plan to relate its proposals 
to man-power needs or to the total picture of socio-economic 
development. But it did make an attempt to cost its recom- 
mendations. On the assumption that population and prices 
would remain constant, it calculated that the total educational 
expenditure in India, which was about Rs. 1.5 per head of 
population in 1944, would rise to about Rs. 11 by 1984. 
The Plan did not also prepare any detailed programme of 
implementation and contented itself by suggesting that the 
first five years should be devoted to planning, propaganda and 
provision of the institutions necessary for the training of 
teachers and that, thereafter, the whole programme should be 
divided into seven five-year plans during each of which an 
area or areas of adequate size should be selected and fully 
developed. 1 

6. The National Planning Committee . The non-official 
efforts at educational planning undertaken during this period 
were made by the Indian National Congress which decided to 
prepare a comprehensive plan of national development and 
appointed, in 1938, a National Planning Committee under 
the fhairmanship of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It appointed 
two committees for educational planning— one for General 
Education and the other for Technical Education and Deve- 
lopment Research. Unfortunately, the work of these com- 
mittees was interrupted because of the intensification of the 
struggle for political freedom which prevented Pandit Nehru 
and the other members of the Committee from devoting 
adequate attention to its work. The Committee, however, 
brought out a volume on Education containing a broad out- 

i For details, see Post-War Educational Development in India , Ministry 
of Education, New Delhi HM I . 





line of all the work that it had done. As compared to the 
official Plan of Post-War Educational Development, it is a 
sketchy document. But its principal significance lies in the 
fact that this was the first attempt to relate proposals of 
educational development to the overall plan of socio-economic 
development. 2 

7. Rejection of These Early Proposals. The proposals of 
the National Planning Committee did not have any major 
impact on the development of educational planning in India. 
Nor did the Plan for Post-War Educational Develop- 
ment fare any better. It is true that its comprehensive character 
was generally welcomed. But it was criticized on several 
grounds among which the following were the more important. 

The Plan was spread over too long a period, the general 
view being that an educational plan should cover about 
15 to 20 years. 

The objective of the Plan was felt to be too narrow because 
all that it proposed to create in 1984 was a system of education 
which would be comparable to the standards already attained 
in the UK in 1939. It was also felt that the plan borrowed too 
heavily from and leant exclusively upon the British system 
of education. 

The proposals of the Plan to make highly selective admis- 
sions to secondary schools and colleges could not be accepted 
because, in the post-Independence period, the hunger for 
education had deepened very considerably and the concept of 
secondary education for all and collegiate education for as 
many as possible was definitely being preferred to the highly 
selective programme in post-elementary education proposed in 
the Plan. 


8. In the first five years after the attainment of independ- 
ence in 1947 education was considerably expanded, on an 
ad hoc basis, through annual plans. But educational planning 
as such may be said to have begun in 1951 when the National 

2 For details, see volume on Education , National Planning Committee, 
Vora and Co., Bombay 1948. 

Planning Commission was created and the First Five Year 
Plan of national development, which also included education 
as one of its sectors, was launched. As stated before, we thus 
have an experience of eighteen years of educational planning 
and implementation. It is this which I shall now proceed to 
describe and evaluate. 

9. Absence of a Long-term Comprehensive Educational 
Plan. Three preliminary observations need to be made here. 
The first is that there was no long-term plan of educational 
development on which these five-year plans could have been 
based. The only documents available for the purpose were 
the proposals of the National Planning Committee and the 
Plan for Post-War Educational Development in India (1944- 
84) . But for reasons discussed earlier, the country had 
rejected both of them. One does not of course regret this. But 
such rejection creates a new responsibility, namely, the pre- 
paration of another long-term plan of educational develop- 
ment which would be in keeping with national aspirations. 
For various reasons, this task was not attempted and this has 
undoubtedly been a major weakness of the programme wc 
are considering, 

10. Obviously, such a long-term plan will have to be pre- 
pared in two stages. The object of the first would be to define 
the goals of national development and that of the second, to 
prepare an educational plan which would assist in achieving 
these goals. By 1950, the first of these two steps had already 
been taken and the goals of national development were iden- 
tified and embodied in the Constitution directly or indirectly. 
These, along with their educational implications, are indi- 
cated below. 

Adoption of Democracy and Adult Franchise . This implies 
the need to ‘educate the masters’ through a massive and short- 
range programme of liquidating adult illiteracy and spreading 
elementary education. The Constitution, therefore, directed 
that free and compulsory education should be provided to all 
children till they reach the age of 14 years. The goal also 
implies, since 80 per cent of the electorate is rural, an emphasis 
on expansion of educational facilities in rural areas and the 
elimination of the gulf which exists, both in quantity and 
quality, between urban and rural education. 





Adoption of Hindi as the Official Language of the Union 
on a Date not later than 1965 . This important decision 
implied a commitment to develop and enrich Hindi by pre- 
paring an adequate scientific terminology and producing the 
necessary literature in all sectors of higher learning. It also 
emphasized the need to propagate the knowledge and use of 
Hindi in non-Hindi areas (which cover about 60 per cent of 
the population) . Incidentally, this decision also implies that 
similar steps would be taken to develop the other modern 
Indian languages, each of which is spoken by several million 

Equality and Social Justice . The nation committed itself to 
create a new social order based on equality and social justice. 
This implies a commitment to provide equality of opportun- 
ity-social, cultural, economic, political and educational— to 
all individuals and especially to the weaker sections of the 
community such as women, scheduled castes and scheduled 

Improvement in Standards of Living . Improvement in the 
standards of living of the people and ensuring a minimum 
national income to every family were the major national 
objectives in the economic field. These implied the modernisa- 
tion of agriculture and rapid industrialisation through the 
adoption of science and technology. From the educational 
point of view, they emphasized the need to relate education 
to productivity through science education, development of 
vocational and professional education, the promotion of 
scientific and technological research, and the discovery and 
development of talent. 

Social and National Integration . In a vast multi-lingual, 
multi-racial, and multi-religious country like India, the need 
to create a strong and united nation is as urgent as it is difficult. 
This implies the cultivation of values and attitudes such as 
love of the motherland, pride in the glorious traditions of its 
past and faith and confidence in its future, and an awareness 
of social responsibility. It also implies that the gulf between 
the educated classes and the masses should be bridged and that 
the former should be inspired with love and a spirit of service 
for the latter, 

11. Unfortunately, the second step of creating a compre- 

hensive and fairly long-term plan of educational development 
to realize these national objectives was not taken. A National 
Commission on University Education was appointed in 1948 
and another for Secondary Education in 1952. Several other 
aspects of education were examined by a number of com- 
mittees; but no single comprehensive plan for all stages and 
sectors of education was ever attempted. Consequently, edu- 
cational planning was done for five years at a time, as part of 
the national five-year plans. It is true that these five-year plans 
were better than the ad hoc annual plans which used to be 
jorepared in the past. But even this horizon for planning is 
obviously not wide enough and there is a strong view in the 
country that much better results could have been obtained if 
a long-term educational plan spread over about twenty years 
had been prepared in 1951 and if the subsequent five-year plans 
had been based upon it. This deficiency has now been corrected 
and the recent National Commission (1964-66) has prepared 
a perspective plan of educational development spread over 
twenty years (1966-85) 3 It is hoped that this would help to 
improve the quality of educational planning in future. 

12. Educational Position in 1951. The second preliminary 
observation I would like to make is to emphasize the extremely 
complex, difficult and gigantic task of educational develop- 
ment which the country had to face in 1951 in spite of the fact 
that the system of modern education was toeing built up for 
over 150 years since its inception at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century. In this context, three aspects of the problem 
deserve notice. 

The ‘Inappropriateness’ of the System . In the British period 
the objectives of the educational system were narrow— to train 
personnel for administration; to create a small class of educated 
persons; and to teach the English language and through it to 
introduce the Indian people to the literature, science and 
philosophy of the West. The system was therefore quite 
unsuited to the n’ew goals of national development which have 
been indicated above, and needed a radical transformation if 
it was to be of assistance in meeting national needs, in realizing 
national aspirations and in raising the standards of living of 
the people. 

3 See Annexure (p. 115) for details. 





The Generally Low Level of Standards and Efficiency. From 
the point of view of contents, it was the second degree in 
arts and science that was broadly equal to the first degree in 
the educationally advanced countries. The curricula were 
mostly old-fashioned and needed revision. Text-books and 
teaching materials were of mediocre or poor quality and 
often in short supply. The system was dominated by external 
examinations so that it encouraged cramming rather than 
habits of self-study, independent thinking and problem- 
solving ability. Science education was largely ignored. Voca- 
tional education, particularly at the secondary stage, was 
very weak. The remuneration, general education and pro- 
fessional preparation of teachers left much to be desired. The 
machinery of supervision was largely of a ‘police' character 
and tended to keep the educational system rigid and uniform 
rather than help it to be elastic and dynamic. Physical ameni- 
ties like campus, playgrounds, buildings or equipment were 
often unsatisfactory; and the extent of wastage and stagnation 
was very large at every stage and in every sector. It is true 
that there was a small proportion of good institutions that 
maintained adequate^ standards. These formed the leaven of 
the system. But the quality of most institutions fell short of 

Low Level of Expansion Reached and Large Inequality of 
Educational Opportunity . The 1951 census gave a literacy 
percentage of 16.6 only— 24.9 for men and 7.9 for women. At 
the lower primary stage (age 6-9) , the enrolment of children 
was only 38 per cent. The corresponding figures for the higher 
primary stage (age 10-12) , lower secondary stage (age 13-15) , 
higher secondary stage (age 16-17), undergraduate stage (age 
18-20) and post-graduate stage (21-22) were 13 per cent, 2 per 
cent, 1.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively. Even these low 
national averages concealed wide regional imbalances of deve- 
lopment at the State and district levels. There were similar 
large disparities between the spread of education among the 
comparatively well-to-do upper and middle social strata, and 
the lower strata of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes and 
economically handicapped groups like landless labourers. As 
the programme of scholarships was extremely meagre, the 
larger reservoir of talent remained mostly untapped. 

13. Factors Impeding Development. The third preliminary 
observation I would like to make is to invite attention to 
several factors in the Indian situation which made quick 
educational progress difficult. These include the following 
amongst others. 

Large Increase of Population. Owing to improvement in 
standards of living and health services, annual death rates have 
fallen from about 40 to about 15 per thousand and the average 
expectation of life has increased from about 30 years in 1947 
to about 50 in 1966. This has inevitably led to a rapid increase 
in population— the annual increase being from 2 to 2.5 per cent 
—and the total population, which was about 360 million in 
1951, is now about 500 million. In every five-year plan period, 
the increase of population exceeds the total population of the 
United Kingdom. 

Lack of Financial Resources . The poverty of the country 
has been another serious handicap. The national income per 
head of population was Rs. 270 in 1951 and it now stands at 
about Rs. 420 (at current prices). Although the increase in 
the total national income has been about 4 per cent per year 
at constant prices, the income per head has increased more 
slowly— at about 2 per cent per year— on account of the rise in 
population. Moreover, only a small proportion of the national 
income was devoted to education— about 1.2 per cent in 1951 
and 2.2 per cent in 1966— and the educational expenditure per 
head rose from only Rs. 3.2 in 1951 to only Rs. 12.1 (at current J 
prices) in 1966. 

Social and Physical Llandicaps. Several physical and social 
factors also impede educational progress. These include 
the immense size of the country and the large diversity 
of its local conditions; the multiplicity of languages— there are 
about 1,600 lan guages of which at least 14 are spoken by 
several million persons each; the predominance of rural areas 
(83 per cent) , the large number of small habitations in the 
country, more than 440,000 having a population of less than 
200; the lack of communications and easy access in several 
areas, particularly those under forests; social stratification 
with little vertical mobility; and traditional resistance to the 
education of girls, which was very strong in certain areas. 

Lack of Human Resources , In a populous country, it seems 





absurd to speak of a lack of human resources. But the fact 
is that the potential talent in the country has remained under- 
developed with the result that the highly trained and compet- 
ent man-power needed for all sectors of national develop- 
ment is in short supply. This is felt all the more keenly in 
education because the low wages and prospects generally 
available in the teaching profession do not attract an adequate 
proportion even of the small stock of trained talent available. 
Consequently, the ratio of able teachers to total enrolments 
tends to be reduced, especially as the rates of expansion have 
been very high so far. 


(1951-65) : some achievements 

14. With these preliminary observations, I shall briefly sum 
up the principal achievements and failures of educational plan- 
ning in India during the first three Five-Year Plans (1951-65). 

15. In the educational situation as it existed in the country 
in 1951, it is obvious that the highest priority had to be 
given to programmes of transformation of the educational 
system and relating it to the life, needs and aspirations of 
the people. It is naive to assume that all education is neces- 
sarily good either for the individual or for society, and that it 

( will necessarily lead to progress. A good system of education 
tuned properly to national life, needs and aspirations can 
be the most potent instrument of national development. But 
an educational system that is inappropriate or unsuited to 
national needs can become a great impediment to progress 
and may even take the country downhill. Equally urgent is 
the need to raise standards in education because the progress 
of a country depends ultimately upon the quality of men and 
women who come out of the schools and colleges year after 
year and this, in turn, depends upon the quality of education 
provided in them. But unfortunately, both these programmes 
received a low priority and this has been the major weakness 
of our planning. On the other hand, the highest emphasis was 
placed on expansion of educational facilities at all stages and 
in all sectors and on the creation of a greater equality of 

educational opportunity. These may, therefore, be regarded 
as the principal achievements of our educational planning. 

16. Table I on p. 86 shows the expansion of educational 
facilities during the first three Five Year Plans. 

It will be seen that the total enrolments in the country have 
increased from 24 million in 1950 to 70 million in 1965, the 
average annual rate of growth being as high as 7.4 per cent. 
There is no parallel to this expansion in the earlier history of 
this country. Even in the contemporary world, this record 
would be equalled by only a few countries, if any. 

17. Some aspects of this unprecedented educational ex- 
pansion deserve notice, for instance, the following. 

Inevitability . It may be pointed out that this expansion was, 
in a way, inevitable. In 1951, the level of existing facilities for 
education was extremely limited. The attainment of Inde- 
pendence created a great hunger for education, especially 
among those classes which had been denied it in the past. 
Moreover, it is next to impossible to resist such popular 
pressures in a democratic society based on adult franchise. 

Egalitarian Urge . It must also be recognised that this 
expansion has played a dynamic part in the transformation of 
Indian society, which is essentially unequal, where wealth and 
rank enjoy many privileges while the handicaps of the under- 
privileged are numerous, and where occupational mobility is 
small and employment opportunities neither ample nor 
diversified. In $uch a society, it is only educational opportunity 
that can be relatively equalized by public policy. This ex- 
pansion has, therefore, created new opportunities for several 
depressed groups and thrown up new leadership and bands 
of workers. These developments have, on the whole, been 
beneficial and helped in creating a more evenly balanced 
economy and society. 

Expansion at the Post-graduate Stage. Special mention must 
be made of the more rapid expansion at the post-graduate 
stage (11.2 per cent per year) . This has been one of the best 
results of educational planning and in this, the University 
Grants Commission, created in 1956 and financed by the 
Central Government, has played a very significant role. This 
stage was emphasized for the obvious reason that it is a crucial 
sector of ' seed^ alue which can fertilize the whole field of 


Table I 

(In thousands) 




annual rate 
1965-66 of growth 


Pre-Primary 5,177 










Lower Primary (I-1V) 13,651 








Higher Primary (V-VII) 3,228 









Lower Secondary (VIII-X) 

General 1,461 





Vocational 46 





Total 1,507 









Higher Secondary (XI -XII) 

General 157 




a 1.8 

Vocational • 125 





Total 282 










General 191 





Professional 50 





Total 241 










General & Professional 22 


' 64 







Grand Total 24,108 





Source . Report of the Education Commission (1964-86), p. 589. 

Notes. (1) Totals do not tally because of rounding. 

(2) Figures in parentheses indicate percentages of population in 
corresponding age-groups. 

(3) Enrolment figures at the pre-primary stage include those in 
class I in States where eleven years are required to reach the 
matriculation standard, which is reached in ten years in 
other States, 


education and help in raising standards. An improvement of 
this stage creates good teachers for colleges and helps to im- 
prove the quality of higher education. This, in turn, gives 
good teachers for secondary schools where standards improve; 
and finally, it results in getting good secondary school grad- 
uates as teachers for primary schools to improve standards 

Expansion Slower than Expected or Needed in Certain Sec- 
tors , In spite of the very large overall rate of expansion it has to 
be pointed out that in some sectors, the expansion has not been 
as fast as one would have liked. For instance, the expansion . 
at the primary stage, rapid as it is, has^jiot met either the j 
popular expectations or the constitutional directive which 
laid down that free and compulsory education should be f 
provided by 1960 for all children till they reached the age of 
fourteen years. Here the difficulties have arisen partly from 
the growth of population, partly from cultural, economic, 
physical and social factors and partly for lack of re- 
sources, Similarly, in spite of the tremendous increase 
in facilities achieved during this period, the expansion of 
vocational and professional education (7.5 per cent per year 
at the secondary stage and 10.6 per cent per year at the under- 
graduate stage) has not been able to keep pace with the 
demands for trained man-power. There is still a shortage of 
engineers and doctors; and the shortages of middle-level man- 
power in industry and of all agricultural personnel are greater 

Expansion Faster than Expected or Needed, in Certai n 
Sectors . In two settors—general secondary education and under- 
graduate education in the liberal arts— the expansion 
achieved has been even faster than what was expected or 
needed, and has created several problems. As stated earlier, 
the Post-War Plan of Educational Development in India had 
proposed an extremely restricted policy of expansion in 
these sectors. Although this was not desirable, it was generally 
felt that expansion in these sectors had to be controlled to 
some extent to prevent large-scale increases in the number of 
educated unemployed. In spite of a general acceptance of this 
policy, the State Governments found it very difficult to resist 
public pressures and both these sectors expanded at a tremend- 





ous rate (9.9 per cent at the lower secondary stage, 11.8 per 
cent at the higher secondary stage, and 9.6 per cent at the 
under-graduate stage). This was due to several reasons such as 
the traditional social status attached to a university degree 
and the growing hunger for education among the people; 
the disappearance of the old ‘job values’ attached to primary 
education which makes secondary education the ‘minimum’ 
and higher education the ‘optimum’ qualification for any 
worthwhile job; the absence of adequate employment opportun- 
ities for young persons so that many of them are forced to go 
in for secondary or university education simply because they 
have nothing else to do; the increasing provision which is 
being made by State Governments for free secondary education 
and for the liberal grant of free studentships, stipends and 
scholarships at the university stage; and a rapid multiplication 
of educational institutions at this level which has made them 
easily accessible to young persons in thousands of small and 
out-of-the-way places. Whatever the reasons, the results of 
this expansion have been mixed. It has given access to higher 
education to several social groups which did not have it in the 
past. At the same time it has made the problem of educated 
unemployment more complex and difficult and indirectly led 
to some lowering of standards. 

18. One point needs mention in this context. In the case of 
a family for instance, a minimum expenditure is necessary to 
provide for the basic amenities or luxuries or cultural 
advancement. In the Indian situation, a similar relationship 
holds between expansion on the one hand and programmes of 
qualitative improvement on the other. In a democracy based 
on adult franchise, the demand of the people for consumer 
goods— and education is increasingly becoming an extremely 
important ‘consumer good’— is difficult to resist beyond a 
certain limit so that a minimum expansion becomes inescap- 
able. For instance, an expansion of about 2 or 2.5 per cent per 
year is needed merely to keep pace with the growth of popu- 
lation. A similar expansion is needed to clear up the backlog 
of underdevelopment and an equal expansion would be needed 
in addition to meet the continually increasing hunger for 
education. Consequently, an expansion of at least 6 to 7 per cent 
per year is unavoidable and the funds required for this will have 

to be provided. It is only the amount over and above this 
minimum need— the disposable surplus— that can be allocated 
to programmes of qualitative improvement or internal trans- 
formation. It has, therefore, often happened that the first 
version of the educational plan started with a fairly big 
allocation in which adequate funds were provided both for 
quantitative expansion and qualitative improvement. But 
when these funds were reduced for a variety of reasons, there 
was an upper limit to the cut which could be made in pro- 
grammes of expansion; and consequently, the axe had to fall 
very largely on the vital programmes of qualitative improve- 
ment. The only way out of the situation seems to be to accord 
a higher priority to education and to obtain larger allocations. 
The other alternative of resisting the public demand for ex- 
pansion is easy to prescribe. But it would be as difficult to 
follow as the proverbial belling of the cat. 

19. Equalization of Educational Opportunity. Equally 
outstanding has been the progress made in the first three^ive 
Year Plans in reducing the sharp inequalities of educational 
opportunity that existed in 1951. The opportunities for free 
education have been considerably expanded. Elementary 
education is free or very largely free in all parts of the 
country. Two States provide free secondary education also and 
in others liberal free studentships are available at the second- 
ary stage. In two States even higher education is free. There 
is considerable provision for the supply of free books and 
some provision for ancillary services like school meals and 
school health. The scholarship programme was extremely 
small in 1947. It has now expanded immensely and about 
seven per cent of the total educational expenditure is incurred 
on student aid. The inequalities of development at the State 
and district levels have been reduced to some extent and the 
educational gap between urban and rural areas has been 
somewhat bridged. There has been a large increase in the 
provision of facilities for the education of handicapped 
children, and under-privileged groups like scheduled castes 
and scheduled tribes are now taking increasingly to education. 
One important programme which has been successfully imple- 
mented is to promote higher education among these groups by 



providing a scholarship to almost every student who com- 
pletes the secondary school and desires to study further. 

20. It may be of interest to give details of the extent to 
which the gap in the education of boys and girls has been 
reduced during this period. This will be seen from 
Table II on p. 91. 

It will be seen that the rate of expansion of the education of 
girls has been faster than that of boys and that the gap between 
them and the boys is being slowly but steadily bridged. 

21. Programmes of Qualitative Improvement . Although 
programmes of qualitative improvement and internal trans- 
formation of the educational system to relate it intimately to 
the life, needs and aspirations of the people were given a lower 
priority during this period, it would be wrong to assume that 
they were neglected altogether or to accept, at its face value, 
the oft-repeated statement that educational standards have 
seriously gone down. The truth is that this has also been 
a mixed picture of light and shade, of certain achieve- 
ments in some sectors and of several shortfalls in others. 

22. I may begin this discussion with teachers on whom, in 
the last analysis, depends the quality of education. Through- 
out the world, the general experience has been that as the 
material rewards of teachers are elevated, it becomes possible 
to recruit into the profession individuals of a continually 
improving quality and with more extended professional train- 
ing; and in proportion as the competence, integrity and dedi- 
cation of teachers have increased, society has been increasingly 
willing— and justifiably so— to give greater recognition to their 
material and economic status. A similar development has taken 
place in India during the last fifteen years and may take place 
on an accelerated scale in the years ahead. Table III on p. 92 
shows the improvement in the salaries of teachers effected dur- 
ing this period. 

23. It will be seen from Table III that there has been 
considerable improvement in the remuneration of teachers 
although a part of it has been offset by the rise in prices. Of 
course, this could and should have been better. Their general 
education and professional training have also improved, partly 
as a result of the improvement in remuneration, partly because 
of the expansion of educational facilities and partly because of 



Table II 


1950-51 1955-56 1960-61 1965-61 


1. Classes I-V 

(i) Total enrolment (in 000’s) 5,385 7,639 11,401 18,145 

(ii) Number of girls for every 

100 boys enrolled 39 44 48 55 

(iii) Proportion of girls in 

mixed schools to total enrol- 
ment of girls (percentage) 74.8 79.2 82.1 85.0 

2. Classes VI-VIII 

(i) Total enrolment (in 000 ! s) 534 867 1,630 2,839 

(ii) Number of girls for every 

100 boys enrolled 21 25 32 35 

(iii) Proportion of girls in mixed 

schools to total enrol- 
ment of girls (percentage) 26.7 51.8 68.9 78.0 

3. Classes IX-XI 

(i) Total enrolment (in 000 ? s) 163 320 541 1,069 

(ii) Number of girls for every 

100 boys enrolled 15 21 23 26 

(iii) Proportion of girls in mixed 
schools to total enrolment 

of girls (percentage) 21 29.7 36.4 40 

4. University Stage 
(General Education) 

(i) Total enrolment (in 000 ? s) 40 84 150 271 

(ii) Number of girls for every 

100 boys enrolled 14 17 23 24 

(iii) Proportion of girls- in mixed 

institutions to total enrol- 
ment of girls (percentage) 56.0 53.1 50.2 48.2 

5. Professional Courses 
(Collegiate Standard) 

(i) Total enrolment (in 000’s) 5 9 26 50 

(ii) Number of girls for every 

100 boys enrolled 5 7 11 14 

Source. Report of the Education Commission (1964-66) p. 136. 





the special efforts made to raise qualifications, provide pro- 
fessional training and introduce better selection procedures 
for teachers of all categories. 

Tabic III 

(1950-51 to 1965-66) (in Rupees) 

Type of Institution 

Average annual salary of 
teachers (at current prices) in 

1950-51 1955-56 1960-61 


salary in 
1965-66 at 

A. Higher Education 

1. University 












2. Colleges of Arts 






and Science 






3. Professional 












B. Schools 

4. Secondary 












5. Higher Primary 












6. Lower Primary 












7. Pre-Primary 












8. Vocational 












All Teach lrs 











9. Cost of living 

index for working 





10. National income 





per head of popu- 





lation (at current prices) 

Source. Report of the Education Commission (1964-66), p. 47. 

Note. The figures within brackets give the index of growth on the basis 
of 1950-51 — 100. 

24. At the institutional level, it is possible to say that the 
number of good institutions has increased considerably. But 
this advantage has been offset by an increase in the number of 
institutions which function at a sub-standard level. In parti- 
cular, a large proportion of the new institutions that have come 
up during this period in response to popular demarfd tend to 
be small and uneconomic in size and badly planned with re- 
gard to their location. There is obvious need to plan the 
location of educational institutions on proper lines to avoid 
overlapping and duplication and to promote the creation of 
institutions of optimum size which tend to be more economic 
and efficient. An Educational Survey of the entire country 
was, therefore, carried out to assist in this programme (1957- 
59) . It has been able to influence public policies to some extent 
but a good deal is still left to be desired. A second Educational 
Survey has, therefore, been undertaken recently (1965) and 
it is proposed to take vigorous steps to see to it that its recom- 
mendations are more rigorously implemented in practice. 

25. At the level of educational programmes, it has been 
possible to carry out several improvements. For instance, the 
teaching of science has improved to some extent and the 
facilities provided for it have increased, both in secondary 
and higher education. Several attempts have also been made 
to improve curricula and teaching materials, to adopt better 
methods of teaching and to implement some reforms in the 
examination system. But the overall impact of all these 
measures is far too inadequate and has failed to make any 
significant change in the traditional system of teaching and 
evaluation. This is due to several reasons. The allocation of 
inadequate resources is obviously an important cause. When 
allowance is made for the rise in prices, it is found that the 
investment in the different sectors of education has, by and 
large, hardly been able to keep pace with the increase in 
enrolments. Consequently, the per capita facilities available to 
students in a large proportion of educational institutions have 
decreased rather than increased in real terms. Another import- 
ant factor has been the failure to overcome traditional 
resistances amongst the teachers and administrators, who have 
not shown any great eagerness to innovate and to experiment, 
and have largely contented themselves to move in the 





old, familiar, beaten tracks. Of still greater significance 
has been the failure to utilize even the existing facilities in an 
intensive manner and to create a climate of hard work and 
dedication. It is here that one comes across a curious paradox. 
The industrially advanced countries command large financial 
and material resources so that they can afford less intensive 
utilization and need not work very hard to obtain good results. 
Their material assets can compensate for human failures. On 
the other hand, the developing countries have to make up 
their shortfalls in financial and material resources through 
human efforts. Their need for .hard work, dedication and 
intensive utilization of available resources is, therefore, far 
greater. Unfortunately, it is precisely in these countries that 
one finds inadequate or wasteful utilization of existing 
resources, poorer motivation and less intensive work. To 
change this human situation is probably the most important 
problem to be faced in the educational planning in developing 

26. At the level of students, there is enough evidence to 
show that the number of first-rate students is much larger 
now than at any time in the past. At the same time, the 
number of ill-motivated students with sub-standard attain- 
ments has increased, especially because there is a large rush of 
first-generation learners whose special needs are not being 
adequately taken care of at present. Consequently, the serious 
problems of wastage and stagnation still continue to dominate 
the scene; and some weaknesses of the system, particularly . 
student unrest in higher education, may even be said to have 
been accentuated. 

27. The present situation in respect of educational 
standards is obviously too unsatisfactory to leave any room 
for complacency. At the same time, it is not fair to over- 
simplify the problem, go to the other extreme and roundly 
assert that the standards have deteriorated. Such a statement 
would do great injustice to that small band of teachers and 
institutions who have struggled to maintain standards in 
the face of heavy odds and whose achievements enable us to 
face the task ahead with confidence. A more balanced view 
would be that the present standards of education, irrespective 
of whether they have risen or fallen in any given institution or 

sector, are inadequate to meet the national needs, that the 
gap between these standards and those in the developed 
countries have become wider during the last 20 years because 
the advanced countries have made tremendous progress while 
nothing comparable to it has been seen in the developing 
nations, and that these standards could have been much 
better if even the existing facilities had been intensively 
utilized and a climate of hard work and dedication had been 

28. Educational Expenditure . Before this review of edu- 
cational developments in the first three Five Year Plans is 
closed, I shall briefly refer to the growth of total educational 
expenditure. This is shown in Table IV below. 

Table IV 

(1950-51 to 1965-66) 

Item of Expenditure 






1. Total educational expendi- 
ture from all sources (Rs. in 






2. Index of growth 





3. Educational expenditure per 

capita (Rs.) 





4. Index of growth 





5. Total national income at 

current prices (Rs in millions) 





6. Index of growth 





7. National income per capita 

at current prices (Rs.) 





8. Index of growth 





9. Total educational expendi- 
ture as percentage of nation- 

al income 





10. Index of growth 





11. Average annual rate of 

growth of total educational 

Plan I 

Plan II 

Plan III 

Plans Mil 

expenditure (percentage) 





Source , Report of the Education Commission (1964-66), p. 465, 



29. It will be seen that educational expenditure (at 
current prices) has increased from Rs. 1,444 million in 1950 
to Rs. 6,000 million in 1965, at 11.7 per cent per year. This 
is about 2.2 times the rate of growth of national income and 
1.6 times the rate of growth of enrolments. Most of this 
expenditure came from Government funds, Central and State, 
whose contribution increased from 57 per cent in 1950 to 71 
per cent in 1965. The contributions of all other sources declined 
from 20 to 15 per cent, the local funds from 11 to 6 per cent 
and private sources such as donations and contributions from 
12 to 7 per cent. 

30. The analysis of this expenditure according to objects is 
given in Table V on p. 97. It will be seen therefore that the 
expenditure on all sectors of higher education has increased 
rapidly. Most of the expenditure incurred on buildings, scholar- 
ships and hostels also falls in the sector on higher education. 
The expenditure on school education which has been a 
comparatively neglected sector was, on the whole, on the low 


31. I shall now turn to the discussion of some of the im- 
portant problems that have emerged in India in the light of 
the experience gained during the last fifteen years. Some of 
these are peculiar to India; quite a few are common to other 
developing nations; and some are shared even by the educa- 
tionally advanced countries. 

32. Relating Education to the Life , Needs and Aspirations 
of the People. Education has two aspects: the universal and the 
local. Certain objectives of education are universal in the sense 
that they are true of all nations and of all times. For instance, 
education should strive to secure a harmonious development 
of the human personality and become a major tool for man's 
eternal and fearless search for truth. But these absolute goals of 
education, like the soul of man in which I am old-fashioned 
enough to believe, can be realized only through their embodi- 
ment in local terms spelt out separately for each individual 
and each country. The education of an individual, for instance, 
will share a large area in common with all other individuals 
in his society and even the world over, But certain aspects of 



Table V 


(1950-51 to 1965-66) (Rs. in 000’s) 

Type of Institution 





1965-66 annual 
rate of 
growth % 











Research Institutions 










Colleges for Arts & 











Colleges for Professional 42.194 










Colleges for Special 











Boards of Intermediate 

s 5,338 










Secondary Schools 










Higher Primary 











Lower Primary 











Pre-Primary Schools 










Vocational Schools 






Special Schools 














Total (Direct) 










Direction & Inspection 






Buildings & Equipment 











































Total (Indirect) 











GRAND TOTAL 1,143.821 









Source. Ministry of Education, Form A. 

Note. Figures in the parentheses indicate percentages to the total. 





it will have to be planned to suit his own uniqueness and to 
draw out the best in him. This applies to every nation. While 
certain goals and programmes of education will have to be 
common to all nations, each nation will have to pursue them 
in the local context of its own traditions, the genius of its 
people, its own short-term problems and long-term aspirations. 
The combination of these physical, social, political and 
cultural factors is unique in each country so that, in spite of 
the pursuit of common goals, the physical pattern of the 
education of a country and its programmes of development 
remain equally unique. It is the duty and responsibility of 
each country -to evolve this unique educational programme 
which will draw out the best in the nation and help it to solve 
its pressing problems or to realize its long-term aspirations. 
The experience of other countries and the advice of friendly 
nations will help in this task; but it cannot be a substitute for 
self-exertion by the country itself, partly because of the 
uniqueness of the situation of each nation, but mainly because 
such exertion is, in itself, the best part of the education which 
a nation needs. 

33. This unique educational programme or the long- 
term perspective plan of educational development is based 
on the assumption that education is the most important tool of 
national development and should be used as such and its 
principal object is to relate the national system of education 
to the life, needs and aspirations of the country. Such a plan 
is the foundation of all educational planning, and without 
it the preparation of short-term plans will be as difficult as to 
guide a ship to its destination without a mariner's compass. 
The preparation of this plan, however, cannot be a responsi- 
bility of the educator alone, and not only of the educational 
planner. Its framework is set by national faith, goals and 
resources; and in the determination of these, the educator 
plays his own role as a citizen, but his is not the only voice, 
nor can he have the last word. But once this framework is set, 
it is his responsibility to work out the implications of this 
framework in terms of educational goals and programmes and 
to integrate education with life and the different sectors of 
education with one another. As Brubacher has observed, ‘the 
schools can only complete and consolidate a change decided 

elsewhere, whether by ballot or by bullets'. Perhaps the most 
important contribution of the Indian Education Commission 
(1964-66) is to provide such a long-term plan. The task before 
the Central Ministry of Education is now to get its acceptance 
by the appropriate authorities and to devise a suitable machin- 
ery by which it can be revised and kept continuously up to 

34. The Special Problems of Developing Nations. This 
task of preparing the perspective plan of educational develop- 
ment faces all nations, but in executing it the developing 
countries have to confront some special problems. Some of 
these are indicated below. 

(a) Telescoping of Development. The only effective method 
to ensure world peace and even the survival of man is to 
reduce the gap, which is already wide and is continuously 
widening still further, between the developed and the develop- 
ing nations; and the key to this lies in education. The develop- 
ing countries, therefore, thus face a gigantic task: they have to 
begin at a lower level, where the developed nations stood about 
100 years ago (or even worse), progress at a pace which is faster 
than even the fast pace at which the developed nations are pro- 
gressing at present and, within a short time, say, the life-span of 
a generation at the most, to reduce the gap between them and 
the developed nations to marginal proportions. I am afraid the 
urgency, significance and operational implications of this ‘tele- 
scoping of the development' are not adequately realized. It can- 
not be done by a mechanical imitation of what the developed 
countries are doing now or did at ^ome previous point in their 
history. It will need bold and imaginative thinking, unortho- 
dox new approaches unsanctified by the halo of tradition or the 
prestige of contemporary practice, elimination of some of the 
stages through which the developed countries have passed, and 
avoidance of their ‘errors' revealed by hind sight. 

(b) Inadequacy of Resources. The giganticism of this task 
before the developing nations is unfortunately equalled only 
by the paucity of their resources. Their national income is 
small and they can mobilize only a comparatively meagre 
portion of this income for national development because their 
‘disposable surplus'— after providing for the minimum needs of 
mere subsistence— is relatively smaller still; the demands of 


development on the meagre capital thus available are numer- 
ous; and consequently, the resources allotted to education 
become extremely limited. In India, for instance, the national 
dividend is only Rs. 420. The country now spends about 3 
per cent of this on education— a low figure no doubt. But it can- 
not be ignored that an investment of 3 per cent in 
education in a national dividend of 60 dollars is a far 
greater and more difficult sacrifice than an investment of 
6 per cent in education in the USA, where the national divi- 
dend is 3,000 dollars. And yet India spends only Rs. 12 per 
head of population on education— an amount which an average 
American spends annually on cigarettes or may spend, in 
about ten years, on sedatives. The picture may not be so dark 
in every set of such comparisons. But the order of difference 
in available resources is about the same and the educational 
planner in a developing country is called upon to perform the 
magic trick of squeezing a ‘Western’ system of education into 
an ‘Eastern’ budget. It is obviously far from easy to meet this 
situation. It calls for the strictest of economies; optimum 
utilization of every available cent; ruthless elimination of all 
forms of waste; rational determination of priorities; efficient 
administration of new educational technologies based on 
science which can provide substantial improvement in edu- 
cation at comparatively small or even reduced expenditures; 
the adoption of programmes of part-time and own-time 
education on a large scale; and above all, an emphasis on the 
human factors involved, through intensive utilization of 
existing facilities, through hard work and dedication which can 
largely compensate for the lack of material resources. 

(c) The Development of Indigenous Languages . The state of 
development of a language is a good index of the cultural, 
scientific and educational development of a nation. The 
languages of the developing nations are generally under- 
developed; and one of their major responsibilities is to deve- 
lop these languages to a level where they become fit vehicles 
for modern knowledge. The problem has obviously no counter- 
part in the developed nations. This will imply the preparation 
of scientific terminologies and the production of needed litera- 
ture in these languages— a very difficult task which a developing 
c ountry has to do itself. This will involve a large programme of 

Appendix iOi 

translations or adaptations of books from the developed 
languages. In this, insurmountable difficulties are often created 
by copyright restrictions. If the developing countries have to 
grow, the developed countries have to ‘export’ knowledge to 
them, either free or even with a subsidy. It is a pity that copy- 
rights have become the biggest stumbling block in the free 
flow of knowledge across international frontiers. I wish all 
the developed countries would have a scheme under which a 
developing country would be free to translate and adapt any 
book it likes and the developed countries would assist the 
programme by securing the needed permission and by paying 
the royalties to the persons concerned, out of their own 
revenues and treating the expenditure as ‘aid’ to the developing 
country. Unless some such programme of international colla- 
boration is evolved, the concept of ‘intellectual property’ will 
prevent rapid development of education in the developing 
areas of the world. . 

(d) Absence of Essential Social Parameters . Another major 
difficulty which educational planners in developing countries 
have to face is the absence of social parameters essential to 
successful educational planning. For instance, these countries 
do not often have stable political systems, strong and pro- 
gressive governments, booming economies, efficient and dedi- 
cated bureaucracies, or strong public opinion in support of 
educational development. On the other hand, they are often 
dominated by vested interests and reactionary forces opposed 
to radical educational reform. Not infrequently, their political 
parties are immature, more interested in exploiting education 
for their own political ends than in educational development 
in national interest; and policies and programmes are often 
set up, modified or abandoned more for personal glorification 
or individual rivalries than for academic reasons. The edu- 
cational planner can do little to change these conditions; but 
they do make his task more difficult and often lead to bitter 
frustrations that could have been avoided. 

It is hardly necessary for me to discuss the issue further. I 
have said enough to show that educational planning in a 
developing society is so different in kind and so much more 
difficult than in a developed country. It needs an entirely new 
approach to its solution— an approach \yhich will mostly have 





to be discovered by the developing countries themselves. It will 
not do to leave this matter to ‘consultants' who can be fairly 
readily imported at present— thanks to the generosity of inter- 
national organizations. While a careful study of the pro- 
grammes of other countries is essential and while we should 
profit by their experience to the fullest, there is no escape for 
educational planners in developing countries from outgrowing 
their tutelage to the developed countries and no real 
substitute for indigenous, hard and serious thinking involved 
in securing rapid educational development in the midst of 
such adverse circumstances. 

35. Some Problems of Short-term Planning and Implemen- 
tation , . The very first problem one encounters in short-term 
planning is to obtain adequate resources for educational deve- 
lopment. Here education has to compete with security as 
symbolised by the police and the army and also with other 
sectors of development, particularly agriculture, industry, 
power, irrigation, transport and communications, and health 
(including family planning). 

(a) Priorities as between Education and Other Sectors . How 
shall the priority of education be determined vis-a-vis these 
sectors? These are essentially political decisions. But some 
points are obvious. For instance, defence or security will always 
claim priority because a nation must live before it can grow. 
But is the building up of armaments the way to real security? 
The Romans invented the slogan of avoiding war by being 
ever prepared for it. We still work on the basis of this philo- 
sophy without realising how costly it has been and how 
obstructive it is to human progress. We also do not realise 
another important point. In the pre-nuclear age, this poljcy 
was not very costly and at least conferred a fair degree of 
security. In the nuclear age, however, this has become mostly 
beyond comparison; and at the same time, it has resulted in 
decreasing human security, irrespective of who wins or loses. 
Strengthening of defence has thus become ironically enough 
synonymous with a planned decrease in human security and 
the very survival of man has been placed in the balance. In 
the developed countries, the enormous expenditure on 
defence is the major impediment to giving adequate aid to the 
developing nations— they spend about 10 per cent of the 

national income on defence and less than one per cent on aid. 
If these proportions could be reversed the world would be 
safer, wars could be avoided and the progress of the developing 
countries would be tremendously accelerated. In the develop- 
ing countries, the attempt to ride simultaneously, and with 
equal zest, the two horses of defence and development savours 
of quixotic romanticism; and very often, the future of edu- 
cation is decided, not in the Ministry of Finance but in that 
of External Affairs. One can only wait and pray for a change 
in this situation. 

What is the priority for education vis-a-vis the development 
of the economy? It has been established that educational and 
economic growth correlate satisfactorily with each other. But 
this co-existence does not establish a causal relationship. This 
is mainly because not all education is related to productivity. 
Where this relationship is clear, as in the case of agricultural 
or technical and technological education, the priority is easily 
obtained. But is it equally true of general education, especially 
the bookish, literary, academic and ivory tower education that 
most developing countries now provide? There are obviously 
cases where economic growth is held up for lack of proper 
educational development. Such situations have to be avoided. 
But is it not also true that educational growth sometimes 
outstrips economic growth and creates difficult problems? This 
has happened, for instance, in the State of Kerala in India. 
This is educationally the most advanced part of India, but 
the type of education is inappropriate. Consequently, the 
economy has not developed in proportion to the spread of 
education. This has led to two serious evils. On the one hand, 
education continues to expand still further— there are irresist- 
ible forces built into the system itself for this— and accentuates 
the evils of educated unemployment. On the other hand, the 
large and increasing expenditure on education reduces the 
funds available for economic growth itself and accentuates 
these evils still further. It is in a situation of this type that 
frustrated able young men and women first turn 'pink' 
and then ‘red'. It is not probably an accident that educationally 
the most advanced State in India also happens to be 
dominated by the Communist Party. It is obvious that edu- 
cational and economic growth have to take place side by side 





so that they promote and not hinder each other. But how is 
this magical balance to be secured? The same argument can be 
extended to the determination of the priority between educa- 
tional development in other sectors. The former needs priority 
because no major problems of national development can be 
solved (e.g. population control, modernisation of agriculture, 
development of industry, etc.) except through educational 
development. On the other hand, one can argue that the 
latter needs priority because no educational problems, either 
quantitative or qualitative, can be solved unless these other 
national problems are also solved. Both the programmes will, 
therefore, have to be pursued side by side. 

In a situation of this type, the decisions on priority ultim- 
ately tend to be taken on political grounds and a good deal 
would depend upon the ideals of the political party in power, 
the roots and upbringing of its leadership, and the forces 
which help it to come into power or to continue in it. In 
India, the funds allocated to education in the first three Five 
Year Plans were between six and seven per cent of the total, 
which implies a low rather than a high priority. The general 
picture is that the leftist parties tend to emphasize education 
more, although one would expect the rightist or centrist 
parties to do so. 

For educational planners, the situation is unfortunate. They 
can do so little to influence the forces that take these crucial 
decisions on which the entire outcome of their work depends. 
All that one can do is to resign oneself to God’s will and hope 
for the best. There is also a dangerous alternative which some 
might (and do) try; they may join politics and strive to 
influence the decision-makers. I am not temperamentally 
disposed to adopt it myself; but here are three cheers and 
good luck to all! 

(b) The Comprehensive vs the Selective Approach . The 
problem does not end with the allocation of resources to 
education as a whole. Since the overall resources will fall short 
of the needs, two major problems arise: (i) selective vs 

comprehensive approach; and (2) distribution of available 
resources to different sectors. Both the issues are purely 
internal within the domain of education and it is the exclusive 
responsibility of educational planners to solve them. 

The first refers to the overall approach to be adopted. Shall 
we adopt the comprehensive approach and try to do something 
in every sector, or shall we adopt the selective approach and go 
in a massive way for a few sectors or programmes of crucial 
significance? This is the principal debate in educational plan- 
ning in India at present. 

In all the first three Five Year Plans, we have adopted the 
comprehensive rather than the selective approach. The policy 
can easily be rationalised on the ground that all the different 
sectors of education are interdependent and that it is not 
possible to develop any one without simultaneously developing 
the others too. It is also the line of least resistance because it 
saves one from the terrible and difficult responsibility of 
making choices or determining priorities. It also gets consi- 
derable support in the ‘democratic’ context because almost 
every programme in education has some godfather, or what is 
often worse, some godmother— they have a genius for espousing 
forlorn causes— so that the distraught Education Ministers are 
forced to adopt the comprehensive approach to please all. 
Even with regard to educational institutions a selective 
approach is to be preferred to a comprehensive one, because 
the scarce resources available should be utilised for the 
promotion of excellence in selected institutions and not frit- 
tered away by giving small but ineffective help to all. The 
escapist policy of a comprehensive approach which started 
with the objective of pleasing all has succeeded only in pleasing 
none and has failed to achieve worthwhile results in any 
sector. There were, indeed, some exceptions. For instance, a 
deliberate choice was made in the school plan— and continued 
since— to develop technical education; and it has yielded good 
results. Attempts to develop science education and in-service 
education of teachers made by the University Grants Com- 
mission are two other successful examples of this policy. At 
the institutional level, the establishment of the five Institutes 
of Technology which maintain peaks of excellence, and the 
University Centres of Advanced Study which attempt a 
symbiotic combination of research and teaching to attain 
excellence at the post-graduate stage, are other examples of 
the successful application of the selective approach. One 





however, feels that this policy should be adopted on a larger 
scale in the future. 

I do not want to minimize the difficulties and risks inherent 
in the selective approach. It is far from easy to select the 
crucial sectors which can help development most. The 
criteria for selection are not easy to define and even when 
defined in theory, they present several problems in practical 
application. It requires a great deal of political courage to 
refuse to select sectors which may happen to be in public 
demand and this is not easy to come by. In selecting institutions 
for special aid, the administrative machinery must have inte- 
grity and competence and must not only be fair to all but also 
appear to be fair. The actual selections made must also com- 
mand the confidence of the academic community. If this does 
not happen, the technique of selective approach may cause 
frustration and demoralisation rather than help in raising 
standards. But these difficulties must be faced and the risks 
must be taken because the alternative policy of a compre- 
hensive approach has the greater risk of reducing all to an 
ineffective mediocrity or even worse. 

(c) Allocation of Resources to Different Educational Sectors 
or Programmes. The second important issue in this context is 
to allocate the total resources available for education to the 
different programmes undertaken. This also is a ticklish and 
difficult problem and in trying to tackle it, the educational plan- 
ner often finds himself in an uneviable position of being called 
upon to distribute equal disappointment for all. There is no 
single answer and each country will have to solve it for itself 
in a manner that best suits its own local conditions. 

A reference to Table V given earlier will show how resources 
were allocated to different sectors of education in the first three 
Five Year Plans. Hardly any comment is needed on this except 
to say that owing to the adoption of the comprehensive 
approach, the allocation of funds to different sectors shows 
only marginal variations from plan to plan, except in two 
sectors— professional education, and scholarships. One point, 
however, is of general interest. In India, very high priority is 
given to primary education in theory. In fact, according to the 
Constitutional Directive, free and compulsory education 
should have been provided by 1960. But it will be seen that 

allocations to primary education have, in actual practice, 
remained on the low side. Whether this has been a right policy 
or not is an important controversy in India today. On the 
one hand, there is a strong view that primary education should 
be accorded the highest priority; on the other hand, there is 
also a view that primary education, which contributes to social 
justice but not to economic growth, should be soft-pedalled 
and that greater emphasis should be placed on post-primary 
education. The policy adopted in India, however, is more the 
result of political forces than of an academic debate: the 
upper and middle classes who are mainly interested in 
secondary and higher education are nearer the centres of 
power and better able to influence public policy than the 
dumb millions whose interest lies in the development of 
primary education. 

More difficult problems relating to allocation are raised in 
dealing with qualitative improvement. What would be a 
better and more fruitful investment in raising standards— an 
increase in the salaries of teachers, a better provision of text- 
books and reading materials, or improved supervision? Should 
one emphasize the lengthening of the training course for 
teachers, or provide more liberal in-service education? Should 
there be a general rise in the salaries of teachers or should 
higher incentives be provided on the basis of work done? 
Should we reduce the class size even at the risk of keeping the 
salaries of teachers at a lower level, or would it be desirable 
to increase the class size and provide a better teacher? A 
hundred questions of this type arise, and as very few studies in 
this field have been carried out, most educational planners 
have been compelled to take ad hoc decisions on all such 
matters as they arise from time to time. If our educational 
planning is to be made more rational and meaningful, it is 
necessary to conduct ‘productivity' studies which will try to 
relate qualitative improvements to different types of in-puts, 
either singly or in combination. 

(d) Project Preparation. Another weakness of educational 
planning in India is the lack of emphasis on ‘project' prepara- 
tion. In industry, for instance, one would not think of under- 
taking a new programme unless a detailed project has been 
prepared with the utmost care and thoroughness. Such a pro- 





ject generally outlines all the stages of development, there- 
fore foresees all difficulties likely to arise, provides for materials 
and personnel needed, and takes care of all the recurring and 
capital costs. But more often than not, educational plans are 
launched with very inadequate preparation and soon land 
themselves into difficulties. Educationists are never tired of 
asserting that the cost of education is not ‘expenditure’ but 
investment . If this argument is valid, all the consequences of 
treating educational expenditure as investment will follow 
and society will be justified in asking for a cost-benefit analysis 
or in demanding that the ‘returns' on this investment should 
be adequate. But questions of this type prove irksome at 
present, because education as an undertaking is probably one 
of the most inefficient enterprises. For instance, if one were 
to run an air service where half the planes that left the ground 
failed to arrive at the destination, the service would go 
bankrupt in no time. Yet in a system with large wastage and 
stagnation, this is precisely what happens and yet no one 
seems to be worried about it. In fact, of all the products of 
social endeavour education is probably the one commodity 
which an individual or society pays for and does not get. I 
think that we have a lot to learn from business organisations 
to improve educational planning. The careful and detailed 
preparation of projects for the programmes undertaken can 
be one such important lesson. 

(e) Planning frotn below . Yet another weakness of our 
educational planning is that it tends to descend from above 
rather than rise from below. The two processes are not ex- 
clusive and one needs both of them in a proper combination. 
But what one regrets to note in the present situation is that 
the process of planning from below is almost non-existent. In 
India, educational planning really starts at the top— with the 
Planning Commission in Delhi which decides the overall size 
of the Plan and the allocation to each sector including 
education, and prepares some guide-lines on the basis of 
which each State prepares its own plan-overall as well as for 
education. The guide-lines are fairly broad in scope and the 
States are free to make changes in the light of local needs. These 
State plans are the real basis of the educational plan. When 
they are added up and the total is further increased by the 

Central plan— for those aspects of education for which the 
Central Government is responsible— the national education 
plan is evolved and the implementation starts. It will be seen 
that in this process there is no room for planning at the 
institutional level, nor at the district level. A district in India 
is an area of about 10,000 sq. kilometers and an average popu- 
lation of 1.5 million and this has to be the basic unit of 
educational planning since the variations in educational 
development (or its background) from district to district are 
enormous. But it has not been possible to initiate district 
plans of educational development. This is one area which needs 
close attention and where studies and pioneering experiments 
will pay rich dividends. 

(f) Emphasis on Programmes Which Need Talent and Hard 
Work. At present, there is an over-emphasis in the plans on 
targets for expansion and expenditure. The reasons for the 
first of these weaknesses have already been discussed. The 
second springs from the fact that the Plan is not a ‘total plan’ 
which deals with all aspects of education in an integrated 
manner, irrespective of the fact whether some of them need 
or do not need finances. Its Sole effort is to outline how funds 
allocated to education are spent. This approach brings in 
several evils: expenditure becomes an end in itself and, instead 
of trying to find out whether the physical targets prescribed 
in the plan can or cannot be achieved at lesser cost, and taking 
pride in the performance if they can be so achieved, there is 
usually an attempt to show that all the funds allocated have 
been spent or even over-spent. Moreover, in this race for expen- 
diture, it is but natural that programmes where money can be 
easily spent (e.g., expansion of enrolments or construction of 
buildings) get undue emphasis, although their educational 
significance is comparatively small. On the other hand, there is 
a tendency to neglect several crucial programmes of educational 
development which cost less, e.g., 

production of literature in the modern Indian languages 
needed for their adoption as media of education at the 
university stage, 
educational research, 
examination reform, 





preparation of school text-books and teaching and learn- 
ing materials, 

in-service education of teachers and officers of the Edu- 
cation Departments, 
improving techniques of supervision, 

improving contact with the local communities and parents, 
providing enrichment programmes and guidance to gifted 
students and some special assistance to retarded or backward 

These programmes call, not so much for money as for deter- 
mined effort, organization, talent and hard work. Where 
money is scarce, they need the highest emphasis possible; but 
they get little attention in a situation where expenditure is 
over-emphasized and becomes a target by itself. 

(g) Lack of Adequate Research, Evaluation and Training. 
Yet another deficiency in the present system of educational 
planning in India is the absence of adequate research or an 
efficient machinery for continuous evaluation, and of an 
adequate and properly trained staff for planning units, 
especially at the State levels. One need not, of course, wait for 
all the needed knowledge before, one begins to plan. Just as 
one cannot learn swimming without entering water, the only 
practical method to plan is to make a start on the basis of the 
best knowledge available at the time. But such an imperfect 
start heightens the need to develop programmes of research 
and evaluation as continuously and as intensively as possible. 

In this context, I would like to refer to one important and 
practical point, viz, where should this research and evaluation 
be developed-in the universities or in special institutions 
created for the purpose but outside them? My own view is that 
it is much better to develop these programmes in the univers- 
ities rather than outside them. 

In the developing countries, we often commit a mistake in 
emphasizing the role of special institutions for research. They 
are created on the plausible ground that the universities are 
weak and will not be able to undertake the responsibility. But 
once special institutions come into existence, they become a 
vested interest in themselves, monopolising almost all the 
resources available — which, in their absence, would have gone 
to the universities— and thus tend to keep the universities weak. 

This has a deleterious effect on national development in the 
long run. Moreover, since research personnel is limited, it is 
most advantageous to locate it in the universities where it can 
be used not only for research but also for teaching to some 
extent and for preparing the research personnel for future 

In the same way, it is desirable to involve universities in 
evaluation also. In India, evaluation is a responsibility of the 
Ministry of Education and the State Governments themselves. 
They do this continuously from year to year when annual 
plans are framed and also in every quinquennium when the 
five-year plans are being formulated. Such periodical self- 
evaluation by administrative authorities responsible for the 
preparation and implementation of plans is inescapable and 
has its own value. But it is also necessary to supplement it 
with more objective evaluations from other agencies as well. 
There is a provision in India under which the Planning Com- 
mission can appoint special Copp (Committees on Planning 
Projects) to evaluate certain programmes. But the machinery 
has been used very infrequently in education and the problems 
referred to have not also been of great significance. While this 
device does have a definite use in certain cases, it cannot be 
depended upon exclusively. Besides, its ad hoc character and 
the difficulty of obtaining high level staff in such temporary 
assignments also detracts from its competence. We have also 
tried the experiment of creating a whole-time and permanent 
staff for evaluation. While this overcomes the difficulties in- 
herent in the ad hoc Copp teams, it is open to other weak- 
nesses such as heavy cost or bureaucratisation. All things 
considered, it is better to involve the universities intensively in 
evaluation of plan projects. This will be both efficient and 
economical. What is more important, it will help to break the 
isolation of the universities and bring them closer to the life 
of the community. 

The position regarding the staff of the planning units is 
not happy. The present units are mostly understaffed and 
there are no proper arrangements for their training. In a vast 
country like India, there is need for a National Staff College 
for Educational Planners and Administrators, especially if the 
idea of district level plans is accepted. 




36. Problems of Educational Planning in a Federal Demo- 
cracy. I shall now deal with one or two problems of educational 
planning which are peculiar to India because of its vast size 
and constitutional position as a federal democracy. Our central 
problem in educational planning and development is to 
evolve a national policy in education. Experience has shown 
that this is not very easy in the present constitutional set-up. 
Education is essentially a State subject though some matters 
like the co-ordination and maintenance of standards in higher 
education are a Central responsibility. Each State is, there- 
fore, quite free to evolve policies of its own. The Centre has 
tried to persuade them to agree to some common national 
policies through discussion and, wherever necessary, by using 
the poweer of the purse. But this technique of alternate 
cajoling and bribing has not always been successful. It is true 
that in the absence of legal authority two unifying forces have 
indirectly helped to evolve the national policy in the past, 
viz., the personal leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and 
the Indian National Congress which was in power in all the 
States and at the Centre. The first of these has already 
disappeared and there are enough indications now to show 
that the centre of gravity of political power is increasingly 
shifting to the States. The second will also be less significant 
in future because non-Congress governments would come into 
power in some States at least after the present general election. 
To overcome these problems a proposal has been put forward 
to make education a Concurrent subject so that Parliament 
could legislate and evolve a national educational policy. But 
the idea has not found favour with the State Governments 
and is not likely to be accepted. 

The difficulty does not end here. Even the State Govern- 
ments are not in a position to evolve uniform policies for their 
areas or rigorously to enforce them. Local bodies have been 
associated with the control of primary (or even secondary) 
education in several States and taking the country as a whole, 
they administer about 40 per cent of the educational institut- 
ions. Although in theory they are the agents of the State Govern- 
ments which can control them to a great extent, the practical 
position is that the local bodies are often too numerous and 
too strong to be effectively controlled. Similarly, about a 


third of the educational institutions in the country are private 
and the proportion of private institutions in secondary and 
higher education is very high. This disperses the authority 
still further and makes it more difficult to evolve and enforce 
common policies. 

37. Centralization of authority may make the evolution of 
a national educational policy easy from the administrative 
point of view. But this is not politically possible. It may not 
even be desirable in a vast country like India, where local 
conditions vary so greatly from one part to another. In the 
federal democracy that India is, the evolution of a national 
educational policy is thus a difficult and slow process and its 
success will depend on the leadership provided by the Centre 
and on the understanding and co-operation between the differ- 
ent agencies that jointly provide all the educational facilities* 
needed, viz., the Central Government, the State Governments,, 
the local bodies and the voluntary organizations. 

38. Another set of problems, i.e. financial, also arise in 
this context. Under the Constitution, most of the elastic and 
expanding revenues are vested in the Centre while most of 
the costly services (including education) are to be provided 
by the States. This creates an imbalance and leads to chronic 
deficits in State budgets. Consequently, the States generally do* 
not have adequate resources to finance their developmental 
plans. To remedy this situation, two devices are adopted. 
During a five year plan, grants-in-aid to States for develop- 
mental purposes are given by the Planning Commission; and at 
the end of the plan period, all the committed expenditure of 
the States is determined and the Finance Commission (which 
is appointeed every five years) transfers revenues and gives- 
grants-in-aid to the States to enable them to balance their 
budgets. We are only concerned here with the former. 

39. The help from the Centre to the States in educational 
development is of three types: 

Central Schemes. These programmes are financed and 
implemented by the Centre. To the extent these operate, the 
liability of the States gets reduced. 

Centrally Sponsored Schemes . These are financed by the 
Centre in full; but the funds are placed at the disposal of the 
States for implementation of specific schemes; and 





Centrally Assisted Schemes . These are schemes in the State 
plans for which the Centre gives assistance, not separately for 
each scheme, but for the plan as a whole. 

There are no problems about the first and third categories. 
But the States do not like the second category of ear-marked 
grants or ‘aid with strings’. They demand block grants which 
they can use at will. On the other hand, these schemes of ear- 
marked assistance are essential to save the States from them- 
selves, to protect vital sectors (e.g., qualitative) , which tend 
to be ignored at the State level because of the peculiar pressures 
that arise at that level (e.g., expansion), and to ensure the 
evolution of a common national policy in education. This is 
one of the important controversies in our educational planning 
at present and is yet unresolved. 


40. In giving this detailed account of the problems of 
educational planning in the developing countries, as arising 
from the experience in India, I hope I have not created an 
impression of despair. I have highlighted the complexity and 
difficulty of the problems because not to do so would be a 
failure in duty. But this very complexity and difficulty should 
enable us to accept the challenge of educational planning and 
to strive earnestly and intensively to make it a success. For the 
developed countries, educational planning is comparatively 
easy and they can also do without it if they choose. But for 
the developing countries, the most careful planning, intensive 
utilization of available resources, dedication and hard work are 
inescapable. It is only through these that they can make up 
for the shortfalls in terms of materials and money, telescope 
development, and catch up with the developed countries. 
“When scarcity rules a people”, says Mr Asoka Mehta, “the 
need for a clear focus, deeper understanding, collective disci- 
pline, hard work and dedicated leadership becomes inescap- 
able”. 4 Of all these significant factors mentioned here, I attach 
great importance to the ‘dedicated leadership’ of teachers and 
educational administrators. The educational problems of a 
developing country can be solved only if there is a large band 

4 The Politics of Poverty. Feroze Gandhi Memorial Lecture delivered at 
New Delhi, 8 September, 1965. 

of idealistic workers who are willing to devote themselves to 
the task of moulding the rising generation. It may not be easy 
to plan for the creation of such a band of missionaries; but it 
is doubtful if anything worthwhile can ever be achieved by a 
nation which cannot create it. 




The Education Commission, which recently submitted its 
Report to Government, was appointed about two years ago 
under the Chairmanship of Dr D. S. Kothari, an eminent Indian 
scientist and educationist. This is the sixth Commission to be 
appointed in the history of modern Indian education and the 
third since the attainment of Independence. In some ways, 
however, it is unique and the first of its kind. All the five 
earlier Commissions dealt, not with education as a whole but 
with some of its aspects— one with school education and 
Colleges (excluding universities), two with university edu- 
cation, one with secondary education. But the terms of refe- 
rence of this Commission were, for the first time, compre- 
hensive. It dealt with all aspects and sectors of education and 
was required to advise Government on the evolution of a 
national system of education for the country. Another unique 
feature of the Commission was its international composition: 
it included eleven Indian members and five others— one each 
from France, Japan, the UK, the USA, and the USSR. This 
made it possible to review the Indian experience in a compre- 
hensive manner and to relate the reconstruction of Indian 
education to the latest developments in some of the education- 
ally most advanced countries of the world. 


The Commission has reviewed the development of education in 
India in the modern period and particularly since Indepen- 
dence, and has come to the conclusion that Indian education 


needs a drastic reconstruction, almost a revolution, if the 
country is to realise its long-term goals stated in the Preamble to 
the Constitution or to meet the problems facing it in different 
sectors. This comprehensive reconstruction, says the Commis- 
sion, has three main aspects: 

internal transformation so as to relate it to the life, needs 
and aspirations of the nation; 

qualitative improvement so that the standards achieved 
are adequate, keep continually rising and, at least in a few 
sectors, become internationally comparable; and 

expansion of educational facilities broadly on the basis 
of manpower needs and with an accent on equalization of 
educational opportunities. 


In the opinion of the Commission, no reform is more im- 
portant or more urgent than to transform education and to 
endeavour to relate it to the life, needs and aspirations of the 
people. This is extremely significant because it is only such a 
transformation that can make education a powerful instrument 
of the social, economic and cultural changes necessary for the 
realisation of national goals. It is also urgent and has to be 
accorded a priority over expansion because the greater the 
expansion of the traditional system of education, the more 
difficult and costly it becomes to change its character. 

The Commission has emphasized the following ten pro- 
grammes to bring about this transformation. 

(1) Science Education. Science education should be made an 
integral part of all school education. Its teaching at the 
university stage should be improved and special emphasis 
should be laid on the development of scientific research. 

(2) Work Experience . Work experience, which may be 
defined as participation in productive work in school, in the 
home, in a workshop, on a farm, in a factory or in any other 
productive situation, should be made an integral part of all 
general education. It should be varied to suit the age and 
maturity of students and oriented to technology, industrialisa- 
tion and the application of science to the production process, 
including agriculture. 


(3) Vocational Education . Vocational education should be 
emphasized, particularly at the secondary stage. At the lower 
secondary stage (age-group 14-16) vocational education should 
ultimately be provided to about 20 per cent of the enrolment; 
at the higher secondary stage (age group 17-18) such enrolment 
should be increased to 50 per cent. In higher education, about 
one third of the total enrolment may be in vocational courses. 
In particular, it is essential to emphasize the development of 
education and reserach in agriculture. 

(4) The Common School . A common school system of pub- 
lic education which would provide equality of access to children 
from all social strata, and which would be adequate in quantity 
and quality should be developed in a phased programme over 
the next 20 years. 

(5) Social and National Service. Some form of social service 
should be obligatory on students at all stages. The nature and 
programmes of such services should vary according to the 
age and maturity of students. 

(6) Language Policy . All modern Indian languages should 
be developed and used as media of education at the university 
st&ge and as the languages of administration in the States 
concerned. Hindi should be developed as a link language for 
the country as a whole, and as the official language of the 
Union. English should be continued to be studied as the most 
important library language and window on the world. Side 
by side, the study of other important library languauges, and 
particularly of Russian, should be encouraged. The three- 
language formula should be modified: only the mother tongue 
should be compulsory at the lower primary stage; a second 
language should be added at the higher primary stage— either 
Hindi or English; at the lower secondary stage, all the three 
languages should be studied— mother tongue, Hindi (or a 
modern Indian language in Hindi areas) and English; any 
two of these languages should be compulsory at the higher 
secondary stage; and no language should be compulsory at the 
university stage. 

(7) Promotion of National Unity . National consciousness 
and a sense of unity should be promoted through curricular 
and co-curricular programmes. This should be done side by 

118 , 




side with the development of education for international 

(8) Elasticity and Dynamism. The existing system is rigid 
and uniform and is tending to be more so. Vigorous measures 
would have to be taken to introduce a large element of elasti- 
city and dynamism in several sectors such as prescription of 
curricula, adoption of teaching methods, selection of subjects 
by the students at different stages and administrative proce- 
dures. A large programme of in-service education for teachers 
and educational administrators has been suggested for this 

(9) Part-time and Own-time Education. At present, facilities 
are provided only for full-time education. It is necessary to 
develop a large programme of part-time and own-time educa- 
tion side by side and to give it equal status with full-time 
education. The Commission proposes that 20 per cent of the 
enrolment at the higher primary and lower secondary stages, 
25 per cent of the enrolment at the higher secondary stage 
and about one third of the enrolment at the university stage 
should be in part-time or self-study courses. 

(10) Education in Social , Moral and Spiritual Values . The 
education system should emphasize the development of funda- 
mental social, moral and spiritual values. There should also 
be some provision, in a multi-religious and democratic society 
like that of India, for giving some instruction about the diffe- 
rent religions. 


The Commission has emphasized the need for dynamic and 
evolving standards of education. This, in fact, is the crucial 
programme in Indian education at present and will have to be 
emphasized during the next twenty years. For this purpose, 
the Commission has recommended the adoption of the follow- 
ing measures: 

(1) Utilization of Facilities . Utilization of existing facilities 
is extremely inadequate at present. The Commission is of 
the view that the first step in improving the standards is to 
maximize the utilisation of existing facilities and has made 
several recommendations for this purpose such as increasing 
the number of working days, lengthening the duration of the 

working day, proper use of vacations and creating a climate 
of sustained and dedicated work. 

(2) Reorganisation of Educational Structure. The Com- 
mission has recommended that the educational structure 
should be reorganised. The first ten years of school education 
should be a period of general education, specialization gene- 
rally being adopted after class X. The higher secondary stage 
is proposed to be of two years’ duration and would be 
followed by a first degree course whose duration will be not 
less than three years. The Commission has also suggested 
that the higher secondary stage should ultimately be located 
in schools. 

(3) Teachers' Status and Education. The Commission has 
recommended substantial improvements in the remuneration 
of teacheers, particularly at the school stage. The gap in the 
remuneration of teachers at different stages of education is 
proposed to be abridged. There would be parity and uniform- 
ity in respect of scales of pay, allowances and retirement 
benefits between teachers working in all types of educational 
institutions— government, local authority or private. There 
would be adequate opportunities for promotion, and condi- 
tions of work and service would be improved. If the recom- 
mendations made by the Commission in this regard are 
implemented, there would be an adequate feed-back of the 
best persons coming out from the educational system into the 
teaching profession and this would raise the standards ex- 

(4) Curricula , Methods of Teaching and Evaluation. The 
Commission has recommended drastic changes in curricula, 
teaching methods and evaluation, and has emphasized the 
need for a large element of elasticity and dynamism. Parti- 
cular mention may be made of its proposal to create auto- 
nomous colleges and experimental schools which would be 
free from the shackles of external examinations. 

(5) Selective Development. Since the resources available in 
men, materials and money are not adequate to improve all 
institutions the Commission has recommended that during the 
next ten years ten per cent of the institutions should be 
upgraded to adequate standards. At the primary stage these 
institutions should be distributed equitably in all parts of 


the country. In secondary and higher education, an attempt 
should be made to upgrade at least one secondary school in 
every community development block and one college in each 
district. At the university stage, about five or six universities 
should be selected for intensive development by locating 
clusters of centres of advanced study in them and should be 
helped to reach internationally comparable standards. 


Expansion of educational facilities has been recommended by 
the Education Commission at all stages but the priority 
accorded to it is after internal transformation and qualitative 
improvement. The following are among the more important 
programmes recommended. 

(1) Adult Literacy. The Commission has suggested that 
part-time courses of about one year’s duration should be con- 
ducted for all children in the age group 11-14 who have not 
attended school or left it before attaining literacy. This would 
prevent further addition to the ranks of adult illiterates. Cam- 
paigns for liquidation of adult illiteracy should be organised 
on a selective or mass campaign basis according to the local 
situation. The overall attempt should be to raise the per- 
centage of literacy (which is now about 30) to 60 by the end 
of the Fourth Plan to 80 by the end of the Fifth Plan. 

(2) Primary Education. Good and effective primary educa- 
tion should be provided to all children. The objective of edu- 
cational policy should be to provide five years of such educa- 
tion by 1975 and seven years of such education by 1985. 

(3) Secondary and Higher Education . This should be 
expanded on a selective basis and the output of educational 
institutions should be broadly related to man-power needs or 
employment opportunities. 

The Commission visualizes that by 1985, the total enrol- 
ment in the national system of education would rise from 70 
million in 1965 to 170 million in 1985. Educationalexpen- 
diture would rise during the same period from Rs. 6,000 
million in 1965 to Rs. 40,000 million in 1985. The proportion 
of national income devoted to education would rise from 
2.9 per cent in 1965 to 6 per cent in 1985. 

appendix 1 - 1 

In bringing about this expansion, great emphasis should 
be laid on the equalization of educational opportunities. The 
provision of good and effective primary education to all 
children would be the first major step in this direction. In 
secondary and higher education, a .large programme of 
scholarships and placement should be developed and admis- 
sions to quality institutions should be made on the basis of 
talent. Special precautions should be taken to see that students 
from rural areas or backward social strata are not handicapped 
in the general competition for admission to good institutions 
or to higher education. 


The keynote of the educational reconstruction recommended 
by the Education Commission is to create an educational 
system based on science and in coherence with Indian culture 
and values. It is necessary to emphasize science because in the 
modern world the progress, welfare and security of the nation 
depend critically on a rapid, planned and sustained growth 
in the quality and extent of education and research in science 
and technology. Science can also be of great help in relating 
education to productivity and in extending education, which 
has so far been the privilege of a small minority, to the 
masses of the people. It has also a great cultural value as a 
powerful dispeller of fear and superstition, fatalism and 
passive resignation. The development of science, however, has 
to proceed side by side with the development of a sense of 
social responsibility and the cultivation of moral and spiritual 
values. If this is not done, man may even destroy himself. 
His salvation lies in blending scientific and spiritual values 
or in creating 'an age of science and spirituality’. In this 
context, the words of the Commission itself would bear 

'Atom and Ahimsa, or, to put it differently, man's know- 
ledge and mastery of outer space and the space within his 
skull, are out of balance. It is this imbalance which mankind 
must seek to redress. Man now faces himself. He faces the 
choice of rolling down a nuclear abyss to ruin and annihilation 
or of raising himself to new heights of glory and fulfilment 



yet unimagined. India has made many glorious contributions 
to world culture, and perhaps the grandest of them all is the 
concept and ideal of non-violence and compassion sought, 
expounded and lived by Buddha and Mahavira; Nanak and 
Kabir; Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi and Gandhi in our 
times, and which millions have striven to follow after them. 

‘The greatest contribution of Europe doubtlessly is the 
scientific revolution. If science and ahimsa join together in 
creative synthesis of belief and action, mankind will attain 
to a new level of purposefulness, prosperity and spiritual in- 
sight. Can India do something in adding a new dimension to 
the scientific achievement of the West? This poses a great 
challenge and also offers a unique opportunity to the men and 
women of India, and especially to the young people who are 
the makers of the future/